Court Approves U.S. Extradition for Alleged BTC-e Operator

NEWS
Sujha Sundararajan
Dec 14, 2017 at 12:15 UTC

A Greek court has given the green light for the extradition of alleged bitcoin money launderer Alexander Vinnik to the U.S.

Said to be the former operator of defunct bitcoin exchange BTC-e, Vinnik is wanted by authorities in both Russia and the U.S. on different charges. As previously reported by CoinDesk, Vinnik had appealed to the court to be extradited to his native Russia where he faces lesser fraud charges. He has also denied his role as the operator of BTC-e, claiming he had merely worked as a technician at the exchange.

According to Reuters, the Greek supreme court yesterday rejected his appeal that he be returned to Russia. It is now up to the Greek justice minister to make the final decision on the matter, according to the news source.

Russia has previously criticized the decision to comply with the U.S.'s request for extradition. The county's Ministry for Foreign Affairs said at the time that it "noted with regret" that the court had opted not to return Vinnik to Russia.

Vinnik was arrested in Greece in late July, accused of laundering billions of dollars in bitcoin through BTC-e.

In July, international law enforcement officials moved to shutter the BTC-e exchange, with U.S. prosecutors later unveiling a number of charges against both BTC-e and Vinnik, while a $110 million fine was handed down from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

By September, the platform had gone back online, and claimed that it would refund users who lost money in the raids. Later that month, its operators launched a new exchange platform called WEX.

Law image via Shutterstock

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CrimeGreeceBTC-eAlexander Vinnik