Business

Gerald Fenech

Russian commissioner for Human Rights requests extradition of Alexander Vinnik

According to local media, Tatyana Moskalkova, The Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation, sent a letter to Michalis Kalogir, the Minister of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights of Greece, requesting to extradite alleged crypto fraudster Alexander Vinnik to Russia. 

Alexander Vinnik was arrested in July 2017 in Greece, and additional allegations at the time indicated that he had Bitcoin Core (BTC) that might be traceable to the 2013 Mt. Gox hack. The BTC-e exchange was later taken down by the FBI.

Additionally, the lawsuit that had been filed in Cyprus against Alexander Vinnik has reportedly been withdrawn by the plaintiffs, Vinnik allegedly operated the now-defunct Cyprus-registered cryptocurrency exchange Btc-e which went bust.

Developments took place last week in the Vinnik case where Moskalkova visited the fugitive in jail where he had been on a hunger strike since November of last year. After some discussion, it appeared that Vinnik who was on the verge of death and had lost up to 30% of his body weight finally accepted to halt the hunger strike. To add to his issues, Vinnik’s wife is also seriously ill with a brain tumour with his children soon to become orphans. 

Moskalkova also sent letters asking to provide Vinnik with medical assistance after the hunger strike, saying:

“I ask you to allow Russian or other independent doctors (the International Committee of the Red Cross) to examine Alexander Vinnik and to provide him with the necessary qualified medical care that will help save his life.”

Vinnik said that there are currently no doctors at the clinic where he is being kept under guard and where he was continuing his hunger strike. As already indicated, Vinnik had been detained in Greece on July 25, 201 at the request of the United States, where he was accused of money laundering between $4 billion and $9 billion. 

Where Vinnik should be brought to justice has been complicated. The Supreme Court of Greece decided to extradite Vinnik in the United States in 2017. But then in September 2018, they decided he should be extradited to Russia at the request of the Russian prosecutor’s office. Previously they also ruled he should be turned over to France on a Paris arrest warrant issued by the French authorities.

Vinnik is demanding that the Greek authorities allow him to return to Russia and considers himself to be a political prisoner.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as SegWitCoin BTC coins. Altcoins, which value privacy, anonymity, and distance from government intervention, are referenced as dark coins.

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