Alleged Bitcoin Launderer Faces Extradition Hearing Next Month

NEWS
Stan Higgins
Nov 15, 2017 at 17:10 UTC  |  Updated  Nov 15, 2017 at 17:21 UTC

An alleged money launderer tied to the defunct BTC-e bitcoin exchange and wanted by both Russia and the U.S. will attend an extradition hearing next month.

The Dec. 6 hearing, The Associated Press reports, represents a delay intended to allow for two witnesses to attend the proceedings, a lawyer for Alexander Vinnik said. Vinnik was arrested in July and accused of laundering billions of dollars through BTC-e, which was also targeted by law enforcement officials.

The development represents the latest twist in a story that sparked global headlines in the wake of Vinnik's arrest. U.S. prosecutors had filed charges against both Vinnik and BTC-e, with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) handing down a $110 million fine against the cryptocurrency exchange.

Vinnik has since remained in Greece after local authorities acted on a U.S. arrest warrant. And while a Greek court initially backed the request to extradite him to face charges in the U.S., Vinnik is seeking to be sent to Russia instead.

As a result, both governments are pushing for their respective extradition requests to be granted, putting the decision in the hands of the Greek Supreme Court, as well as the Greek Justice Department.

In statements, Vinnik has declared his innocence in regards to the U.S. charges, though he acknowledged that he worked for BTC-e. BTC-e – which has since relaunched after having its domain seized by law enforcement – has denied any involvement with Vinnik.

Court image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Money LaunderingGreeceBTC-eAlexander Vinnik