Business 22 November 2018

Dennis Wafula

Lawyer accuses Greek top court of ‘violating’ Alexander Vinnik’s rights

The Supreme Court in Greece has been accused of violating the rights of Russian national Alexander Vinnik, the alleged owner of the disgraced crypto trading platform BTC-e. According to local reports, the court has failed to translate essential documents relating to a money laundering case from French to Russian.

Zoe Konstantopoulou, lawyer for Vinnik, told the court that her client had been denied the right to an official translator, which they requested for in November 2017, Russian news agency TASS reported.

In addition to not getting a translator, Konstantopoulou said documents essential to the case had not been translated to Russian, didn’t have seals and signatures. The lawyer accused the court of discrimination on political ground claiming, “You wouldn’t do this with any Greek, or EU citizen.”

Vinnik, who has been detained in Greece since July 25, 2017, is accused of laundering as much as $4 billion through the now defunct BTC-e cryptocurrency platform. He was arrested and detained in Greece after an official request from the American government. After his arrest, Russia has sought Vinnik’s extradition. French authorities also sent a similar request to Greece in June.

In 2017, a Greek Court ruled to have Vinnik extradited to the United States and later on to Russia. Later, a court in Thessaloniki upheld the ruling to have him extradited to France this summer. Vinnik then appealed the decision at the Supreme Court. According to reports, the different extradition requests will likely to be settled by the Greek Ministry of Justice or the country’s leadership.

Authorities in the U.S. have been looking for Vinnik after the closure of BTC-e in July 2017. Federal authorities are seeking a penalty of $110 million from BTC-e platform, plus an additional $12 million from Vinnik in connection with his alleged role in the exchange’s anti-money-laundering (AML) violations.

Vinnik has denied being involved with the platform, saying he was not even an operator of the BTC-e. In addition to BTC-e, Vinnik has been accused of having direct involvement with Mt. Golix incident, which happened in 2011. He also denied these allegations.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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