On Tuesday, France’s Ministry of Foreign affairs announced that it has turned down a Russian request to extradite Alexander Vinnik, who was indicted in the US for his role in the alleged laundering of $4 billion in bitcoin through the BTC-e cryptocurrency exchange. The ministry said it had determined there were “serious deficiencies” in the evidence provided by Russia against the 38-year-old Russian national. Vinnik was arrested in Greece in July and is currently fighting extradition to both Russia and the US.
BTC-e, a long-running and one-time top-10 cryptocurrency exchange, was one of the first exchanges to offer trading between bitcoin and fiat currencies. A clampdown by the FBI resulted in the exchange’s domain being seized by US authorities, but it quickly resurfaced, and it continues to operate today. The US Justice Department has since indicted BTC-e’s operator, a Russian national named Alexander Vinnik, for conspiracy to launder $4 billion worth of bitcoin. Moscow, meanwhile, has requested his extradition, but France has reportedly rejected the request. ~
According to the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation, Russian officials have requested that France extradite Alexander Vinnik, but their request was rejected. Vinnik is currently being held in a Greek jail while he awaits trial for allegedly laundering billions of dollars worth of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies through a digital currency exchange he operated, BTC-e. The case has sparked significant interest in the cryptocurrency community because Vinnik is one of just a few people who have been charged with crimes related to bitcoin and other leading cryptocurrencies.. Read more about is bitcoin safe and let us know what you think.The French judicial authorities have refused to accede to Russia’s request to extradite Alexander Vinnik. According to the Russian Ombudsman, Vinnik is ready to begin a new hunger strike despite his deteriorating health after nearly four years in prison.
Vinnik’s trial continues in France
The operator of the popular cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e was recently sentenced to five years in prison and a fine of 100,000 euros. According to RIA Novosti, Russia’s Human Rights Ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova said on Thursday that Moscow’s request for the extradition of Aleksandr Vinnik had not been accepted and that the case was still pending. In December 2020, the Paris criminal court found Winnick guilty of money laundering but acquitted him of extortion charges and charges related to his alleged involvement in the Locky ransomware. Alexander Vinnik was arrested in July 2017 while on vacation in Greece with his family. He was arrested on a warrant from the United States, where he is accused of laundering up to $9 billion through the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e. A Russian computer scientist has been detained in Greece for 30 months without being charged, leading to a hunger strike of nearly three months. He is now ready to start a new strike, Moskalkova said, quoted by TASS.
Alexander Vinnik’s health is deteriorating
Relying on statements from his defense and the Russian consulate in France, the ombudsman told Russian media that Vinnik was ready to protest again with a hunger strike despite his failing health. The Human Rights Ombudsman added that she knew nothing about Vinnik’s suicide attempts, but quoted his lawyer describing the prisoner’s psychological state as very poor. Moskalkova said: We hope that he will have the intelligence and courage to continue his active fight for his rights. Tatyana Moskalkova also lamented that the world, which demands kindness, mercy and justice, has not listened to the call of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Russian Federation, nor to the calls of the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Prosecutor General’s Office and other authorities. The Vinnik case has become a source of international tension: Russia, France and the United States are simultaneously requesting his extradition. In December 2019, Greek Justice Minister Costas Tsiaras decided to hand over the Russian first to France and then to the US and Russia. Alexander Vinnik is also facing criminal charges in his home country. Russian prosecutors accused him of stealing more than 600,000 rubles (more than $8,000) and committing computer fraud worth about 750 million rubles (about $10 million). When arrested in Greece, the Russian citizen stated that he was ready to return to the Russian Federation and appear before a Russian court. What do you think of the Oleksandr Vinnik case? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
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Alexander Vinnik, BTC-e, court, stock exchange, extradition, France, IT, prison, Locky, money laundering, operator, prison, extortion, request, Russia, Russian, conviction Photo credit: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki CommonsAs reported by Russian publication Vedomosti, the French government has rejected Russian attempts to extradite Alexander Vinnik, a Russian national and bitcoin exchange operator, who is currently detained on Greek soil. Vinnik is facing charges by US officials of allegedly running the BTC-E bitcoin exchange on behalf of cybercriminals, although his attorney has stated that there is no evidence that Vinnik is connected to any criminal activity. (According to Vedomosti, the official response from France was that Russia and France should not have mutual extradition treaties because France has the right to deny extradition requests when a “political motive” can be discerned.). Read more about new cryptocurrency and let us know what you think.
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