Greek court backs extradition of BTC-e's alleged owner to US

Bryan Strickland
Октября 5, 2017

The Thessaloniki Council of Judges ruled to satisfy the United States request for the extradition of Russian citizen Alexander Vinnik on 4 October, RIA Novosti reported.

Vinnik, who denies the charges, is also wanted in Russian Federation on lesser fraud charges.

However, as reported by the New York Post, a three-judge panel ruled that the USA request to extradite Vinnik should be granted. The charges included laundering $4 billion through bitcoin cryptocurrency exchange BTC-E, which Vinnik allegedly headed, hacking the Japanese exchange Mt.Gox, which provoked its bankruptcy, and facilitating drug trafficking.

Alexander Vinnik, a 38 year old Russian man (C) suspected of running a money laundering operation using bitcoin, is escorted by a police officer to a court in Thessaloniki, Greece, October 4, 2017.

Russia's bid to have Vinnik extradited back home has yet to come before a court. While Vinnik denies those charges too, he consents to being returned to Russian Federation.

Vinnik denies the charges against him, telling the court he served as a consultant rather than an operator for BTC-e, a bitcoin exchange, Reuters reports.

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"We have faith in the Greek justice system and a long road ahead of us", the Reuters news agency quotes Xanthippi Moisidou, one of Vinnik's lawyers, as saying.

U.S. prosecutors accuse Vinnik of running BTC-e, a digital currency exchange they say was used to launder huge amounts of dirty money for organised criminal groups.

Vinnik claimed that he had nothing to do with the BTC-e.

US authorities also linked him to the failure of Mt. Gox, a Japan-based bitcoin exchange that collapsed in 2014 after being hacked.

"Exchanges like this are not only illegal, but they are a breeding ground for stolen identity refund fraud schemes and other types of tax fraud".

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