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.
BTC-e address displayed on Crystal Blockchain
  • 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.

See also: New Zealand Police Seize $90M Linked to Alleged BTC-e Exchange Operator

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.