Russia's foreign ministry has sharply criticized a Greek court's decision to extradite Alexander Vinnik to the US for his alleged role in laundering funds through the BTC-e bitcoin exchange.
Both Vinnik and BTC-e were later charged by US prosecutors, with FinCEN handing down a $110 million fine after the sealed indictment was unveiled.
Since then, Vinnik has remained in Greece pending the outcome of the extradition process. During that time the Russian government moved to extradite Vinnik on unrelated charges, a move that was later endorsed by Vinnik himself in a statement to Russia Today.
But this week's ruling by a Greek judge was met with dismay by the Russian foreign ministry, which in a statement urged the court to reconsider the decision.
The Russian government said:
The statement notably makes no mention of BTC-e or the specific crimes for which Vinnik has been accused. That said, it does make note that Vinnik's legal team will appeal the decision, potentially leaving it up to the Greek Justice Ministry to decide on where the Russian national will be sent.
The foreign ministry also expressed hope that Vinnik will ultimately be extradited to Russia.
"We hope the Greek authorities will consider the Russian Prosecutor General's Office request, and Russia’s reasoning, and act in strict compliance with international law," the ministry said.
Image via Shutterstock
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, 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. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.
Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.