Alleged bitcoin fraudster, Alexander Vinnik, who is accused of laundering billions of dollars, is officially seeking extradition to Russia. Alexander Vinnic, accused of money laundering, is now seeking extradition to Russia.
Local news source e-Kathimerini reported in March that Vinnik, a Russian national, filed an appeal in a Piraeus city court. He pleaded humanitarian reasons for release or extradition to his home nation.
After police alleged that Vinnik had been laundering money since 2011, he was arrested in Greece in July 2017. Authorities claimed that at least $4 billion in cash had been laundered through a bitcoin platform. The charges for Vinnik being detained are:
- money laundering
- transacting in cash obtained through illegal means
Vinnik’s extradition has been sought by the governments of the U.S., Russia and, more recently, France, since his arrest.
Vinnik maintains his innocence, to date, of all charges, saying:
“I do not consider myself guilty … The fact that I worked for BTC-e and did my job, and it’s not justifiable to accuse me of it.”
According to the report from e-Kathimerini, Vinnik was on a hunger strike for 90 days, and was transported to the court by ambulance.
It was written in e-Kathimerini that Vinnik’s lawyers maintain that the charges against him are “unfounded,” and say his life is “at risk”. The Greek justice system has also been criticized by them for detaining Vinnik for “more than the maximum 18 months permitted for pre-trial detention.”
A $110 million fine was levied against BTC-e by the U.S. Department of Justice in July 201, as well as a $12 million penalty against Vinnik. He would face up to 55 years in prison if convicted in the U.S..
The apparent successor to the shuttered BTC-e exchange, WEX, was again tied to illicit funds gained through ransomware attacks back in March. PwC, one of the “Big Four” consulting firms said that two Iranians who created the SamSam ransomware variant are tied to WEX and may have used it to launder millions in illegal earnings.