The Greek supreme court in Athens has rejected today the appeal by the suspected BTC-e operator Alexander Vinnik regarding his extradition to the United States. The way is now clear for the Greek justice minister to give the final verdict whether to extradite the Russian national to American authorities or not.
The Extradition of Vinnik
Greece’s top court has ruled that Alexander Vinnik can be handed to criminal authorities in the U.S. where he is accused of running a $4 billion money laundering operation. The Americans claim that Vinnik was the head operator of the bitcoin exchange BTC-e, a charge both he and the exchange deny.
In addition to money laundering, Vinnik faces in the US accusations of masterminding multiple crimes since 2011, including drug trafficking and computer hacking. He is also accused of laundering a large amount of bitcoin Vinnik allegedly “obtained” from the hack of Mt. Gox. If convicted he can get up to 55 years in an American prison.
Russia Wants Vinnik Back
Russia had previously objected to Vinnik’s extradition to the U.S. on the grounds that it violates international law. His motherland also demands he be sent back, supposedly to face charges there for stealing 600,000 rubles (about $10,500). Vinnik and his lawyers also agreed to have him return to Russia.
“The Supreme Court’s decision was expected, it is a decision on an appeal on the same decision of the Thessaloniki court. There are more opportunities for legal work which will be carried out now,” Vinnik’s lawyer, Timofey Musatov, told Russian news agency Sputnik today.
Musatov earlier warned that this sets a precedent where “any citizen in the world could be arrested at any second on false accusations, in which there are no facts, but only assumptions.”
Should Alexander Vinnik expect a fair trial in the US? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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Author: Avi Mizrahi