French Officials Move to Start Trial of Alleged BTC-e Operator Alexander Vinnik

The alleged BTC-e operator stands accused of extortion, aggravated money laundering and conspiracy.

Jul 24, 2020 at 1:45 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 9:35 a.m. UTC

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.

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