Published: Thu, October 05, 2017
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Greek court clears U.S. extradition of Russian bitcoin fraud suspect

Greek court clears U.S. extradition of Russian bitcoin fraud suspect

In the United States, Vinnik faces up to 55 years in prison.

A Greek court has approved the U.S. extradition of a Russian national accused of running a $4bn Bitcoin laundering ring on the now-defunct BTC-e exchange.

Russian Federation also demands his extradition on separate fraud charges.

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USA officials charge that as the operator of BTC-e, Vinnik extensively laundered criminal proceeds thereby facilitating drug trafficking and hacking, accusations that he has repeatedly denied.

The U.S. and Russian Federation have both put in extradition requests for Vinnik, who has reportedly asked to be returned to the Kremlin over the U.S. Russian Federation has also requested his extradition. While Vinnik denies those charges too, he consents to being returned to Russian Federation. Vinnik's lawyers immediately acted upon his right to appeal to Greece's Supreme Court.

Alexander Vinnik, a 38 year old Russian man (C) suspected of running a money laundering operation using bitcoin, is escorted by a police officer to a court in Thessaloniki, Greece, October 4, 2017.

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USA prosecutors accuse Vinnik of running BTC-e, a digital currency exchange they say was used to launder huge amounts of dirty money for organised criminal groups.

"Through his actions, it is alleged that he stole identities, facilitated drug trafficking, and helped to launder criminal proceeds from syndicates around the world".

Vinnik allegedly committed these crimes while operating bitcoin exchange BTC-e, although he claims he was just a technician and the exchange denies he was ever employed by the company.

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He is also said to have helped launder funds stolen when the Japanese Mt Gox Bitcoin exchange was hacked, resulting in its collapse and the loss of virtual currency worth hundreds of millions of euros.

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