Extradition Battle Over Suspected Cryptocurrency Launderer

30 January 2020 | Updated: 30 January 2020

French authorities have arraigned the ex-administrator of recently-shuttered cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e and Russian citizen Alexander Vinnik.

According to a report by Bloomberg on the 28th of January, Vinnik’s attorney confirmed that he will stay in France to face the indictment against him following his extradition from Greece. An unidentified official from the prosecutor’s office disclosed that Vinnik was facing multiple charges including extortion, aggravated money laundering, and conspiracy.

The Legal Back and Forth
One of the accused’s attorneys told reporters that after his trial in France is concluded, he will be ferried back to Greece where he will be subsequently extradited to the US. After the US litigation is concluded, he will, once again, be carried to his home country, Russia.

The French investigation is still in play but no litigation has been called yet. Vinnik’s French attorney, Ariane Zimra claims that nothing is linking the prosecutors’ claims with her client.

The defendant is reported to be in a hospital after embarking on a 40-day hunger strike against his arrest. His attorney also filed for injustice some days ago, based on the infringement of his client’s rights.

Another of Vinnik’s attorney stated that his client, who he labeled a “blockchain genius, ” was being oppressed by the authorities who see him as an annoyance to the sovereignty of the financial sector.

A Recap of Vinnik’s Litigation
Vinnik is suspected to be a party to the hack involving Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox as the stolen funds (about 300k BTC) were discovered to not only have been laundered through BTC-e but were also found in his wallet upon examination.

Based on these suspicions, the administrator of Mt. Gox reached out to the United States DOJ requesting data about him.

The suspect was originally arraigned by the US in July 2017. A Greek Court later called for his extradition to Russia in September 2018. In July 2018, however, authorities re-ruled for the suspect to be extradited to France, where he is presently held.

Vinnik’s extradition has become something of a diplomatic struggle with several countries, especially his home country Russia, contending to procure his extradition.

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Azeez Mustapha

Azeez Mustapha is a trading professional, currency analyst, signals strategist, and funds manager with over ten years of experience within the financial field. As a blogger and finance author, he helps investors understand complex financial concepts, improve their investing skills, and learn how to manage their money.