Alleged former BTC-e owner Alexander Vinnik will not be extradited to the United States. A request made by US officials has been rejected by the Greek Supreme Court. Instead, Vinnik will be transported to Russia, where he will stand trial for distributing ransomware and laundering criminal proceeds.
The Alexander Vinnik Story Continues
Cryptocurrency enthusiasts are familiar with the name Alexander Vinnik. He is the alleged former owner of the BTC-e cryptocurrency trading platform. This exchange has been named in connection with laundering criminal proceeds through Bitcoin and altcoins. Most of those proceeds were derived from ransomware distribution attacks around the globe. A legal battle regarding his extradition has been going on for some time now.
The United States and France both demand Vinnik’s extradition. The Supreme Court of Greece rejected both requests earlier this week. Instead, they rule Vinnik will be extradited to Russia, which is also his native country. Since his arrest in Greece in July of 2017, the extradition tug-of-war has been going on behind the scenes. This final verdict puts all of these debates to an end once and for all.
It appears Alexander Vinnik is of keen interest to all parties requesting extradition. US officials claim Vinnik is tied to 21 charges of money laundering and running an unlicensed money exchange. In Russia, he is suspected in an investigation pertaining to fraud. France is convinced he needs to stand trial for cybercrime and money laundering, among other charges. Greece officials were the ones to make the arrest in question, yet they have no active investigation taking place right now.
A Colorful History of Illicit Activity
Most people know the name Alexander Vinnik because of the BTC-e exchange. However, some evidence shows his criminal activity dates back to many years ago. Laundering ransomware earnings is just one of the feathers in his cap, by the look of things. Unfortunately for Vinnik, that trend was also the final nail in the coffin of his less than clandestine operations.
Other illicit activity linked to Vinnik dates back to prominent exchange hacks. He is suspected of being involved in incidents affecting Mt. Gox, Bitcoinica, Bitfloor, and others. All of these exchanges are integral parts of Bitcoin’s history to date. They are also some of the biggest hacks recorded in the cryptocurrency industry to date. Most of the funds stolen from these exchanges have never been recovered successfully.
There is still a chance Alexander Vinnik will not be extradited to Russia. The final decision rests with the Greek Finance Minister. Overruling the justice system is not all that common in Greece, but it is a possibility to take into account. Additionally, one has to wonder if US and French officials will file a complaint to have a decision rendered in their favor.
Do you think that Vinnik should be extradited to his home country of Russia? Why or Why not? Let us know in the comments below.
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