France has joined Russia and the U.S. in seeking to extradite an accused money launderer connected to the BTC-e cryptocurrency exchange.
As previously reported by CoinDesk, Alexander Vinnik has been at the center of an international dispute ever since he was indicted by U.S. officials. At the time, the US government also slapped BTC-e with an $110 million fine, a move that came hours after reports of Vinnik's arrest first emerged. And despite going offline following the arrest and fine announcements, BTC-e ultimately re-emerged under the name WEX.
According to the Associated Press, France is seeking to intervene as a final determination on Vinnik's future is made. France's government wants to put Vinnik on trial for a string of charges including "cybercrime, money laundering, and membership in a criminal organization and extortion", sources told the news service.
As such, the French request adds a new wrinkle to the dispute, and according to the AP, Vinnik is fighting the new extradition request.
"A legal issue that will require our attention is which (extradition request) will have priority, as they are based on two international arrest warrants and one European arrest warrant," Ilias Spyrliadis, Vinnik's lawyer, was quoted as saying.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that BTC-e was hit with a $1.11 billion fine.
Image via Shutterstock.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.