Russia’s Extradition Request for Vinnik Gets Green Light from Greek Court

A Greek court gave the green light to Russia’s request to extradite former BTC-e owner Alexander Vinnik, who is suspected of Bitcoin fraud and money laundering.

A court in the city of Thessaloniki, Greece, has accepted on Monday Russia’s request for the extradition of Alexander Vinnik, who is charged with money laundering and Bitcoin fraud, Associated Press reported. Besides Russia, which seems to be the best case scenario for Vinnik, the US and France are also trying to get his extradition for more serious fraud accusations. Thus, the ruling coming from senior judges is making the situation even more complicated, as there are more parties interested in this case. Greece’s justice minister will likely have the final word and will decide the fate of the computer expert.  

During the hearing, Vinnik denied all the fraud-related charges, explaining that he was trying to challenge the US dominance in the financial markets. 

The suspect was arrested by Greek law enforcement last summer at the request of the US Department of Justice, as he was accused of fraud and laundering about $4 billion in Bitcoin via BTC-e exchange over a period of six years, including on the territory of the US. 

Timofey Musatov, Vinnik’s lawyer, told the press that a motion was filed to replace the preventive punishment with house arrest, but the court didn’t approve it.

In May, we reported that Vinnik was the target of an assassination attempt in Greece as criminals allegedly tried to poison Vinnik in prison.

At that time, Musatov said that the assassination attempt was made because of the possibility of his extradition to Russia.

The Prosecutor General's Office sent two requests to Greece, one related with the theft of 600,000 rubles (about $9,600) and another one related to a fraud involving 700 million rubles ($12 million).

Vinnik was the head of crypto exchange BTC-e, which allowed the purchase and sale of Bitcoin. He is suspected of using his exchange to take part in the hacking attack against Mr.Gox, a Japanese exchange that once had the highest trading volume.