In his first interview since his arrest, alleged BTC-e operator Alexander Vinnik has said he is innocent of charges brought against him by the U.S. government.
Arrested in Greece in July following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Russian native is currently being held there on charges of money laundering and operating an "unlicensed monetary service" until he can be extradited to the U.S. Vinnik refused to allow himself to be voluntarily extradited.
In the interview with Russia Today, Vinnik said:
"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. I found out about the charge about a month after I was taken into custody. This was told to me by my Russian lawyer."
BTC-e was raided by U.S. officials and shut down on July 25, but has since come back online and pledged to return user funds. In a statement at the time, the group claimed Vinnik was never in charge of the exchange.
Other statements hinted at what could become one of the more notable trials to emerge from the blockchain technology sector.
For example, Vinnik's wife Alexandra told Russia Today that she believes he is being framed by the U.S. because they want to use his "intellect." Further, she said it was "weird" that Vinnik would be tried in the U.S. given that he did not work or live there.
Vinnik agreed, telling the news source that he does not understand how the U.S. government can judge a Russian citizen.
The statements in this article were translated from Russian.
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