Greek top court now wants to send Alexander Vinnik to Russia
The highest tribunal in Greece has ruled that Alexander Vinnik, the alleged owner of the disgraced crypto trading platform BTC-e, is to be extradited to Russia, in the latest development in this high profile case.
According to reports in Russian media, Vinnik is to be extradited to his home country from Greece in order to face charges of cyber fraud, with the official verdict expected to be published later this month.
The Supreme Civil and Criminal Court of Greece is also considering a separate French claim for extradition of Vinnik, which is being heard as part of the same trial. The Supreme Court’s decision contradicts rulings from other courts in Greece, with the United States also petitioning for extradition of the former CEO.
Vinnik was quoted as saying he agreed with the decision on his extradition to Russia, offering via his attorney that his fate “is now up to politicians and their will.”
The final decision rests in the hands of the Greek justice minister, who will decide which of the three countries’ claims will take precedence.
Vinnik was arrested by authorities in Greece on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice on account of fraud and money laundering charges alleged in connection with the BTC-e platform. The case is said to concern as much as $4 billion laundered through BTC tokens.
French authorities then added their own to the charges, in connection with a fraud affecting “over 100 people in six French cities between 2016 and 2018.”
Before he could be extradited to France or the United States, the Russian authorities launched their own extradition claim, in connection with a fraud of around 667,000 roubles ($9,800).
The case has attracted further controversy in recent days, after Vinnik’s legal team accused the French authorities of trying to question Vinnik without permission from Greek officials.
It remains to be seen whether Vinnik escapes with extradition to Russia on these much less serious charges, and the news from Supreme Court is expected to play to his favour.
The final decision now rests with the Greek justice minister.
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