Russian Alexander Vinnik, who is suspected of laundering $4 billion on a cryptocurrency exchange, was transferred from Greece to the United States, where he faces up to 50 years in prison. The Voice of America gave more details.
On August 4, the plane with the Russian flew from Paris to Athens for further extradition to the United States. From Greece, Vinnik was taken to Boston (Massachusetts) on a private plane and then transported on a service plane to San Francisco (California). From Boston, he was allowed to call home.
The day before, the Paris court approved the US decision to withdraw the request for the extradition of Vinnik and end the case against him in France. At the same time, the Russian’s lawyer explained that, in fact, Vinnik would not be released, since he would have to be immediately taken into custody to be transferred to Greece.
On July 28, the Russian again asked for political asylum in Greece.
Vinnik's Greek lawyer Zoe Constantopoulou does not rule out that the United States is seeking to extradite him for subsequent exchange for Americans convicted in Russia.
Alexander Vinnik is a former bitcoin trading platform operator. In July 2017, he was arrested in Greece at the request of the United States.
In Russia, two criminal cases were initiated against the Russian, in both he was suspected of fraud, and one appeared after his “surrender” in absentia. Corresponding requests for his extradition went to Greece, which were granted. France also opened its own case, writes the BBC.
All three extradition requests – American, Russian and French – were satisfied by the Greek authorities, but the Greek side could not decide for a long time where to send Mister Bitcoin, as he was called by the local press.
In 2020, the Russian was extradited to France, where he was sentenced to five years in prison for laundering funds. French justice accused him of hacking the emails of several thousand users and extorting money from them.
In the summer of 2022, Vinnik's term in a French prison expired, after which a series of lawsuits began again to extradite him. The scheme turned out to be complicated.
On August 4, a court in Paris granted the request of the American authorities to extradite Vinnik to the United States, but his defense immediately warned that he could be sent there in transit through Greece, where there was another valid request.
So in the end it turned out, although the Greek lawyers met the client right at the airport. In the United States, he faces a total sentence of over 50 years.
Alexander Vinnik has previously stated that he is ready to stand trial only in Russia and cooperate with the investigation. He confessed to the Russian authorities in hacker attacks and money laundering.
As ForumDaily wrote earlier
- Alexander Vinnik was arrested on July 25, 2017 at the request of the United States while on vacation in Greek Halkidiki. Vinnik arrived in a Greek village on the Aegean coast with his wife and children. The American authorities traced him through a mobile phone. After his arrest, the BTC-E platform ceased to exist.
- A jury in San Francisco, California, charged him with money laundering and cryptocurrency fraud. The Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation sent a request for the extradition of Vinnik to Russia. Vinnik pleads not guilty.
- The court of the Greek city of Thessaloniki granted the US request for the extradition of Russian Alexander Vinnik, but his defense immediately filed an appeal.