Alexander Vinnik, the suspected Bitcoin fraudster, faces fresh extradition woes as France joins the fray. He has now planned to embark on a hunger strike to protest his alleged unfair treatment.
We’ve all heard that crime doesn’t pay. However, if you’re this incarcerated crypto fraudster, it can make you go hungry too. Alexander Vinnik was arrested last year on suspicion of financial fraud. It is alleged that he, through his BTC-e cryptocurrency exchange platform, laundered between $4- and $9 billion.
In addition to being arrested, Vinnik, who is a Russian national, faced the question of where he would stand trial. As he was arrested at the request of U.S. authorities, it was thought that he would be extradited to that country. However, authorities in Greece, where he was arrested, ordered that he be sent to Russia.
Now, according to TASS, France has entered the tug-of-war situation. In June, the country had sent a European arrest warrant for Vinnik and wants him to be tried in France. While discussed by authorities in Greece on the 19th of November, a review of the ruling will only be held on the 29th of November.
Based on these events, Vinnik’s lawyer, Timofey Musatov, said that his client would initiate a hunger strike come Monday. Musatov explained:
Alexander Vinnik decided to go on a hunger strike because he realized he was stripped of the right for defense in France and, consequently, in Greece. Moreover, it became clear that the European arrest warrant [issued by France] expired.
Musatov claims that France’s warrant is only valid for 90 days after it has been issued.
Vinnik Chooses to go Hungry
The lawyer also criticized the Greek authorities whose behavior is part of the reason for his client’s hunger strike decision:
The Greek Supreme Court’s judge completely ignores the work of lawyers who cannot even file a petition. She does not give them an opportunity to speak or do it. After observing this situation, Alexander realized that he would either get a fair trial or die. If there is no fair trial, he will inevitably be deported to the United States through France, where he will get something close to a life sentence, which equals death.
Musatov added that Vinnik’s Russian nationality means that he will not get treated equally:
Considering the fact that [Vinnik’s Greek] lawyer Zoe Konstantopoulou openly said [at the session of the Greek Supreme Court on November 19] that the court would not treat any citizen of an EU member country or Greece as it treats Alexander just because he is a Russian national, Alexander understood that he does not have any other options and decided to go on a hunger strike on Monday in protest against this situation.
Do you think that Vinnik’s plan will force Greek authorities to quickly come to a decision and send him to Russia? Let us know in the comments below!
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