Vinnik has been the subject of politically-motivated injustice by the Greek authorities, his lawyer has claimed. In a recent interview, Zoe Konstantopoulou accused Greece of violating his rights by holding him in arbitrary detention for 30 months. She believes that the attack against her client stems from the fact the he dealt in cryptocurrencies.
Vinnik’s has become one of the biggest sagas in crypto. Greek authorities arrested the Russian citizen 30 months ago, in July 2017. Since then, his extradition has been the subject of an international face-off between Greece, Russia, France and the United States.
Vinnik’s lawyer has been very vocal over this time, campaigning to have him extradited to his home country of Russia. She has also called out the Greek authorities over their treatment of the BTC-e founder. In her latest interview with Cointelegraph, Konstantopoulou claimed that her client has been grossly mistreated while in Greece.
She stated, “Alexander has been subject to arbitrary detention for 30 months, which is prohibited by the Greek constitution. During this period, he has been made to suffer cruel and inhuman treatment from the authorities.”
The charges against Vinnik has some political interest as well, she believes, claiming that there are vested interests in France, Greece and the U.S who want to punish him. This is evidenced by the fact that he was held for over two years in detention in Greece in the absence of any court orders and with no lawful trial.
Konstantopoulou further confirmed that Vinnik’s health has continued to deteriorate as gets caught up in the extradition battle. Moreover, he has been unable to contact his family during the whole ordeal.
She stated, “Alexander is currently on the 44th day of his hunger strike in protest of the gross human rights violations suffered at the hands of the authorities in Greece. […] Greek law enforcement isn’t allowing Alexander to see his family, even his wife who has been diagnosed with brain cancer.”
Vinnik is alleged to have laundered over $4 billion in his position at BTC-e crypto exchange. The U.S also links him with the hack of Mt. Gox crypto exchange and the subsequent loss of over $450 million. The U.S claims to have traced 300,000 BTC from the heist to Vinnik’s personal wallet.
Vinnik’s mistreatment is undeniable, but according to one crypto veteran, his association with crypto has been the motivating reason. The CEO of crypto swap platform Swingby, Yusaku Senga pointed out that crypto wrongdoers are treated with disdain by the authorities in comparison with other financial industry transgressors.
He stated, “If we look at the prosecution of Charlie Shrem and compare it level of prosecution brought against Goldman Sachs and its senior directors for their involvement in the huge scale of money laundering and embezzlement in the 1MDB scandal in Malaysia, it’s hard not to argue that crypto advocates and entrepreneurs are being much more harshly persecuted.”
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