Greek Court Approves US Extradition of Suspect in Cryptocurrency Crime

Alexander Vinnik

Vinnik, 38, was detained in Greece on July 25 at the request of U.S. authorities charging him with a number of offenses.

USA officials charge that as the operator of BTC-e, Vinnik extensively laundered criminal proceeds thereby facilitating drug trafficking and hacking, accusations that he has repeatedly denied.

Vinnik on Wednesday appealed the decision to extradite him to the USA, where he could be facing up to 55 years in prison if convicted by the U.S.

Russia's bid to have Vinnik extradited back home has yet to come before a court.

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

A Greek court cleared the way on Wednesday for the extradition to the United States of a Russian, also wanted by Moscow, suspected of laundering billions of dollars in digital currency bitcoin.




The court has not yet set a date for Vinnik's hearing about his request to be extradited to Russian Federation on lesser fraud charges, according to the report.

Vinnik allegedly committed these crimes while operating bitcoin exchange BTC-e, although he claims he was just a technician and the exchange denies he was ever employed by the company. While Vinnik denies those charges too, he consents to being returned to Russian Federation.

The ruling can be appealed, and the final decision will be taken by Greece's justice minister.

Russian Federation also demanded return of Vinnik, which was captured in a hotel near city of Thessaloniki, Greece.

"We have faith in the Greek justice system and a long road ahead of us", said another of Vinnik's lawyers, Xanthippi Moisidou.

"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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