Greek Court Rules To Extradite Bitcoin Fraud Suspect Alexander Vinnik To France

Crime, News | July 16, 2018 By:

A Greek court has agreed has ruled to extradite Alexander Vinnik, the alleged mastermind of a $4 billion bitcoin laundering ring, to France.

Vinnik, 38, was arrested in Greece last year on a US-issued international warrant. US authorities accused Vinnik of laundering $4 billion in bitcoin through cryptocurrency exchange BTC-E, which he allegedly headed, hacking Japanese exchange Mt.Gox, which led to its bankruptcy and facilitating drug trafficking. His extradition has been also requested by Russia, where he is sought on lesser fraud charges.

Last month, France requested to put Vinnik on trial for alleged cybercrime, money laundering, membership in a criminal organization and extortion. French authorities claim that Vinnik defrauded thousands using cyber attacks via his bitcoin platform. Authorities claim Vinnik laundered 133 million euros worth $155 million using 20,643 bitcoins. Vinnik has denied doing anything illegal.

On July 13, Ilias Spyrliadis, Vinnik’s Greek lawyer, revealed that the court in the northern city of Thessaloniki has granted France’s request for Vinnik’s extradition. The extradition to France would lead to a further extradition to the US, but the lawyers said that he is planning to appeal against the court’s decision in the Greek Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Russian authorities renewed their request to extradite Vinnik to Russia. The second request raises the amount of money allegedly involved in the fraud to 750 million rubles ($12M USD).

Greece’s justice minister is expected to decide where Vinnik will be sent after examining the competing extradition requests from France, Russia, and the US. Spyrliadis said a European warrant ordinarily would take precedence over others, giving France first dibs on prosecuting Vinnik. But he said in practice, it’ll be up to Greece’s justice minister to decide where Vinnik ends up.