France Wants to Extradite Alleged Bitcoin Money Launderer

France, joined United States and Russia, is seeking the extradition of the alleged bitcoin money launder Alexander Vinnik.

Jun 28, 2018 at 4:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:07 a.m. UTC

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.

Since then, Russia and American officials have wrangled in the Grecian court system in an effort to extradite him to their respective countries. All the while, Vinnik has maintained his innocence, though a court ruled in December that he could be extradited to the US.

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.

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