Legal

Russia Claims Decision To Extradite Bitcoin Fraud Suspect To US Violates Law

Russia is alleging that a Greek court’s decision to extradite a suspected Russian money launderer to the United States is a violation of international law.

According to news from Reuters, Russia has given its own extradition request. Its Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the submission should take priority because the suspect, Alexander Vinnik, is a Russian citizen.

The Greek Supreme Court decided on Wednesday that Alexander Vinnik could be sent to the United States, where he faces up to 55 years in prison.

Vinnik is the accused mastermind behind a $4 billion bitcoin laundering ring and is one of seven Russians arrested or indicted on U.S. cybercrime charges so far this year.

He is accused of operating BTC-e, a cryptocurrency exchange that traded in bitcoin but was actually a laundering ring used to bankroll crimes, such as hacking and drug trafficking as far back as 2011. Officials in the U.S. have also linked Vinnik to the collapse of Mt. Gox, a Japanese bitcoin exchange that was hacked in 2014 and eventually went under. He reportedly received funds from the hack and laundered them via the BTC-e exchange and Tradehill, another exchange he owned and operated.

Vinnik had been in a village in northern Greece since the end of July when he was arrested. He denies all cybercrime charges brought against him.

“We believe the (Greek) verdict is unjust and violates the basics of the international law,” the Russian ministry said in a statement.

The Greek court’s decision could be appealed and must ultimately be approved by the Greek Minister of Justice. A hearing date for the Russian extradition request has been set for Oct. 11.

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