More Woes For Alleged Bitcoin Launderer As Countries Call For Extradition
Despite terming the charges cooked, his lawyers want him charged in Russia.
Alexander Vinnik Quizzed By French Police
More countries are showing interest in the case involving a Russian citizen accused of laundering the bitcoin. Woes surrounding Alexander Vinnik deepened after Greece was asked to extradite him. The accused is currently in police custody within Greece.
According to Russian news outlets, French authorities interrogated Vinnik early Monday over an offence he allegedly committed in Paris. His lawyers have however dismissed the charges terming them made up.
His lawyer said that the interrogation was meant to put Vinnik under psychological trauma before the case is initiated. The lawyer, Timofei Myusatavo said that the interview was a strategy since his client is awaiting extradition to Paris in the coming days. He claimed that authorities lacked a clear charge for Vinnick and they were looking for evidence to show he committed the offence.
Myusatavo said that details provided the authorities shows that there is no evidence of wrongdoing on his client’s end. He claimed that the French detectives are depending on cooked up charges.
Vinnik, 38, was taken into custody last year following a request from the US. His arrest came when he was on vacation with his family in Greece. This is after a US jury ruled that Vinnik was guilty of 21 charges. He woes emanate from the BTC-e, an exchange he operated. Through the exchange, he is accused of laundering of stolen bitcoin from Mt.Gox which was based in Japan.
In his defence, Vinnik says that he was employed at the exchange as a technician but not the admin as highlighted by French and Russian officials. In France, Vinnik is facing charges of laundering bitcoins worth $155 million. On the other hand, Russians want him to face fraud charges involving $11 million.
Several courts in Greece have already issued orders to extradite Vinnik as requested by the three nations. The recent extradition approval came from the Greek Supreme Court. The court ruled that he should be extradited to Russia. The same court also plans to give a way forward regarding requests from the US and France.
Lawyers Want Vinnik Extradited To Russia
In a surprise move, Vinnik’s lawyers want him to face the charges in his native Russia. The defence says that the push to extradite him to Russia will be backed by a former Greece lawmaker, Attorney Zoe Konstantopoulou
However, Elliptic, a blockchain forensic company has claimed that the case is linked to an investigation by counsel Robert Mueller about Russia’s role in the US elections back in 2016. The firm has claimed that Russians deployed services of BTC-e as a means of covering their bitcoin laundering tracks hence the need to have Vinnik charged in his home country. At the beginning of this year, Greek authorities foiled an assassination attempt on Vinnik.