French officials have officially started the ball rolling for the trial of Alexander Vinnik, the alleged operator of an exchange said to have laundered millions of dollars for criminals.
- French prosecutors filed a petition to start the lawsuit against Vinnik on Wednesday, according to a news report from L'Express.
- Vinnik was charged on the day he arrived in France in late January after been extradited from Greece.
- He stands accused of extortion, aggravated money laundering, conspiracy, and harming automatic data-processing systems as the chief of the exchange BTC-e, closed by law enforcement agencies in 2017.
- A hot wallet address for BTC-e can be seen on blockchain explorers.
- The platform from Netherlands-based Crystal Blockchain shows that, while now empty, more than 733,000 bitcoin (around $7 billion) has passed through the wallet.
- It has remained inactive since September 2017 – a few months after Vinnik was detained by the Greek authorities.
- Once the French trial has concluded, Vinnik will be extradited to the U.S. and then Russia to face similar charges there.
- Vinnik has maintained he is innocent of all charges.