Alleged Bitcoin Fraudster Alexander Vinnik Appeals for Extradition to Russia
Former operator of now-shuttered crypto exchange BTC-e, Russian national Alexander Vinnik, has appealed with a Greek court for his release or extradition to Russia, local media outlet Kathimerini reported on March 21.
Vinnik — who is accused of fraud and laundering as much as $4 billion in Bitcoin (BTC) over the course of six years — has reportedly filed an appeal with Piraeus court for his release or extradition to Russia for humanitarian reasons.
Prior to that, Russia’s Commissioner for Human Rights Tatyana Moskalkova asked both the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and Greek Justice Minister Michalis Kalogirou to help extradite Vinnik to Russia. The petition was lodged in connection with Vinnik’s deteriorating health following a hunger strike he started last November.
At the time, Moskalkova stressed that Vinnik’s wife was seriously ill and is on the brink of death. The Commissioner said then:
"Given the extraordinary humanitarian situation, I would ask for help extraditing him [Vinnik] to Russia so that he could be closer to his family."
Moskalkova also sent letters to the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, the Greek Health Minister Andreas Xanthos, and the Greek Ombudsman, Andreas Pottakis, asking to provide Vinnik with medical assistance following the hunger strike.
Apart from Russia, French authorities also sought Vinnik’s extradition to France in regard to a further series of fraud allegations. France accused Vinnik of “defraud[ing] over 100 people in six French cities between 2016 and 2018.”
In late February, the Russian Supreme Court included the illicit use of cryptocurrencies in the list of criminal offences related to money laundering. The amendments were reportedly developed in order to comply with recommendations from the international Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering.