Russian accused of Bitcoin fraud appeals extradition

Greek Court Backs Extradition of Alleged Bitcoin Exchange Operator to US                          Oct 4 2017 at 10:30 UTC by Rachel Rose O'Leary

A court in Greece chose to extradite Russian national Aleksandr Vinnik, who wanted to claim that it was laundering $4 billion on Internet.

A Greek court cleared the way on Wednesday for the extradition to the United States of a Russian, also wanted by Moscow, suspected of laundering billions of dollars in digital currency bitcoin.

United States 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. Vinnik was arrested while on vacation in northern Greece in July.

The United States first indicted Vinnik on July 26 for, "for operating an unlicensed money service business, money laundering, and related crimes", according to the Department of Justice.

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The ruling can be appealed, and the final decision will be taken by Greece's justice minister. As if the web of activity wasn't large enough already, American authorities have also tied Vinnik to the failure of Japanese bitcoin exchange MtGox.

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

The investigation of Vinnik's case comes at a time when dialogues over cryptocurrency are conflicting and rampant.

Vinnik claims he only worked as a technical consultant for the owners of BTC-e, and was not its operator. "If a Greek court rules that a Russian national is guilty, the issue must be solved between Russia and Greece", Ordzhonikidze said, adding that the United States exerts political pressure on the Greek authorities, including the judiciary, as well as on the authorities of all North Atlantic Treaty Organisation states.

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