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Alleged money launderer, Alexander Vinnik to be extradited to France – Russia unhappy

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Mt. Gox hack still remains one of the most notorious hacks in the history of crypto. This hack saw 744,408 bitcoins, which belonged to the customers, stolen. This led to the company filing for bankruptcy and thousands of people losing their investments. Investigations revealed that the loss was due to a leak in their hot wallet.

It starts with BTC-e

The money stolen from the hack was supposedly laundered via the largest Russian-language cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e, which was also shut down in 2017. Even though the owners of the exchange were anonymous, some unnamed spokesperson from qugla.com ICO marketing agency revealed that Alexander Vinnik was one of the owners and administrators of the exchange.

Vinnik was accused of heading a group that was responsible for laundering $4 bln in Bitcoin over six years and arrested by the Greek police back in July 2017. As the source confirmed, Vinnik had a direct relationship with the incident. The hacked Bitcoins were not only laundered by BTC-e but were also on Vinnik’s personal wallet. The total amount was estimated to be about 300 000 BTC.

Vinnik was first indicted by the U.S. in July 2017. This followed the Supreme Civil and Criminal Court of Greece ruling for his extradition to Russia back in September 2018. In July 2018, a Greek court ruled to extradite him to France.

Now, it looks like this is where Vinnik is heading as Greece’s Council of State ruled in favor of the accused’s extradition to France.

Wanted in multiple nations

According to a report from a local news outlet Greek reporter, the court announced its judgment on January 23. Vinnik is wanted in multiple nations including Russia. Russian news agency TASS reported that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov protested over this decision saying:

“The decision to extradite him to France is inadmissible as long as no explanations have been provided why he is not extradited to Russia. His family has been broken up, his right to life and health violated. Greece is obliged to hold prisoners in conditions that do not allow torture and bullying.”

France joined the US and Russia in seeking the extradition of Vinnik. The French warrant claimed that Alexander Vinnik, who headed bitcoin exchange BTC-e, had defrauded over 100 people in six French cities between 2016 and 2018. Vinnik at that time responded that he was “transferring e-money through a platform,” claiming it was a “legitimate personal transactions.”

Russia has been fighting the decision of extraditing Vinnik to France. Russian President Vladimir Putin had even raised the issue with the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras last December, as per a report from state-owned Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

Anna Larsen
Anna Larsen has been a Crypto enthusiast since 2016. Fascinated by the technology and its usecases she decided to pursue a career in content creation related to this space. The journey has been exciting ever since.

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