Greek Court Upholds Russian Extradition Request for Accused Bitcoin Launderer

26041002 - bitcoins with wooden clothespin


Accused Bitcoin money launderer Alexander Vinnik has scored a temporary victory in his effort to avoid extradition to the United States. Last week, a Greek court ruled in favor of the U.S. extradition request. That decision was countered by the Greek Council of Judges in Thessaloniki yesterday, when the court chose to uphold a competing extradition request from the government of Vinnik's home country, Russia.

The U.S. government has accused Vinnik of operating the BTC-e cryptocurrency exchange, and using it to facilitate criminal activities like drug trafficking and computer hacks.

According to reports, Vinnik is alleged to have laundered roughly $4 billion in Bitcoin, and faces charges that include 17 counts of various money crimes and illegal operation of a money service. Vinnik has denied the American allegations, insisting that he was merely a technical consultant for the exchange.

While the Supreme Court could hear arguments in the case before the end of October, their ruling may not bring an end to the issue. The Greek Justice Minister has the final say in cases that involve competing extradition requests.

For his part, Vinnik has already expressed his desire to be extradited to Russia. There, he would face charges that are expected to be far less severe than the potential 55 years of jail time and $12 million in fines that could await him in the United States.

Author: Ken Chase

Freelance writer whose interests include topics ranging from technology and finance to politics, fitness, and all things canine. Aspiring polymath, semi-professional skeptic, and passionate advocate for the judicious use of the Oxford comma.

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