Alexander Vinnik, a Russian national who was accused of a US$4 billion bitcoin laundering ring will be officially sent to France but no extradition date has been set yet. It was ordered by the Konstantinos Tsiaras, the justice minister of Greece on Monday (December 23).
The decision of extradition was announced via Twitter, expressing displeasure at the decision. The official announcement reads it as follows;
“We regret that the documented request by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia for the extradition of Alexander Vinnik to his country of citizenship was ignored.”
The order serves as the suspension of a decision to extradite Alexander to France. Essentially, he was accused of being the mastermind behind a digital asset exchange BTC-e which has laundered as much as $4billion worth of Bitcoins. The exchange was reportedly established in 2011 – interestingly, the exchange was processing around five percent of BTC’s total trading volume at one point. Also, it was reported that the exchange used to serve around 95 percent of ransomware-related payments. More so, Vinnik, as well as his exchange BTC-e, was accused of laundering bitcoin, stolen from now-defunct crypto exchange Mt Gox. Nonetheless, police at the time said;
“BTC-e was noted for its role in numerous ransomware and other cyber-criminal activity; its take-down is a significant accomplishment, and should serve as a reminder of our global reach in combating transnational cybercrime.”
As for Vinnik, the decision appears to be unfair. In fact, his lawyer Zoe Costantopoulou said, the extradition decision is a ”death sentence” as she claims “Vinnik’s heath has been deteriorating”. She went on to say that the decision was “a recognition of the risk he faces if he is extradited.”
Notably, Zoe as Vinnik’s defense attorney said she would look after filing a new legal request to have Greece authority’s decision to extradite Vinnik to France canceled. More so, Vinnik was also wanted to lend his service to the Russian President, Vladimir Putin in contrast for a pardon on his rimes.