Greece to extradite Alexander Vinnik to France to face a charge of money laundering

Pierluigi Paganini December 21, 2019

Greece authorities will extradite to France Russian Alexander Vinnik, who allegedly headed the Bitcoin exchange BTC-e, to face a charge of money laundering.

Greek justice minister Costas Tsiaras announced the extradition to France of the Russian of Alexander Vinnik, who allegedly headed the Bitcoin exchange BTC-e, on suspicion of money laundering.

In September 2019, the decision of the Supreme Civil and Criminal Court of Greece has overruled previous ones that were taken by other Greek courts.

Vinnik is charged with different hacking crimes in Russia, France, and the United States.

In September, Greek Police have arrested the Russian national Alexander Vinnik (38) and they accuse the man of running the BTC-e Bitcoin exchange to launder more than US$4bn worth of the cryptocurrency.

The authorities reported that since 2011, 7 million Bitcoin went into the BTC-e exchange and 5.5 million withdrawn.

According to the Greek media outlet the Daily Thess, the FBI tracked Alexander Vinnik for more than a year.

The man is charged by the US authorities with fraud and money laundering for more than $4 billion worth amount of Bitcoin (BTC) resulting from criminal activities, the US prosecutors requested his extradition in July 2017.

The Greek Supreme Court first opted out to extradite Vinnink to the US  to face with the charges with the operation of an unlicensed money service business, money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions.

Vinnik is also accused to be responsible for the failure of the Japanese bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox.
Mt. Gox was the biggest Bitcoin exchange at the time of the shut down in 2014 that occurred after the platform was the victim of a series of cyber heists for a total of $375 million in Bitcoin.

The U.S. authorities speculate the Russian man stole funds from Mt. Gox, with the help of an insider. The stolen funds were transferred to a wallet managed by Vinnik and funds were laundered through his platform BTC-e-service during a three-year period.

In July 2018 there was a twist, a Greek lower court agreed to extradite Vinnik to France to face with charges with hacking, money laundering, extortion and involvement in organized crime.

The Russian Foreign Ministry criticized the ruling and said the country will look to a response.

“Several days after taking an unfriendly decision to expel Russian diplomats and to deny entry to several Russian citizens, they have adopted a decision to extradite Russian citizen Alexander Vinnik to France,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry wrote in a statement. “It is obvious that Russia cannot leave these actions unanswered.”


The Russian government officially asked the Greek government to extradite Vinnik to Russia, where he is facing around $10,000 worth of fraud charges, practically nothing compared the charges in the US and France.

Now the French authorities are accusing Vinnik of defrauding more than 100 people in six French cities between 2016 and 2018.

The Russian embassy in Athens said via Twitter that it was “saddened” that its request for its own extradition request to have priority was “ignored.”

The media reported that Vinnik’s wife and his children live there, the suspect’s lawyers claim that the life of their client would be in danger if he were extradited to France or the US.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – cybercrime, hacking)

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