Russian bitcoin suspect faces US extradition via ‘deception’ – lawyer – Reuters

France deported Russian crypto entrepreneur Aleksandr Vinnik to Greece, which could hand him over to the US, his lawyer says

Aleksandr Vinnik, a Russian cryptocurrency entrepreneur suspected of fraud in both Russia and the United States, has been sent to Greece, his French lawyer told Russian media on Thursday. Frédéric Belo thinks that this decision could be part of an elaborate plan aimed at eventually extraditing his client to America.

Vinnik, a Russian blockchain technology expert, was arrested in Greece in 2017 at the request of the US government, which accused him of laundering between $4 billion and $9 billion through the BTC cryptocurrency trading platform. -e, now extinct.

In 2019, the Greek Supreme Court ordered Vinnik’s extradition to France, where he was also charged with money laundering. The man was later found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison. His prison term ended at the end of June, but French authorities refused to let him go, despite his lawyer’s pleas.

The French authorities are said to have planned to “secretly” return it to Greece at the end of June, but the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has blocked this decision, Belo told the RIA Novosti news agency.

On Thursday, he was placed on a flight to Greece, the lawyer said. In mid-June, the United States withdrew its extradition request for Vinnik, which had been filed with French authorities, paving the way for his deportation to Greece. However, according to Belo, this may have been part of an elaborate process “deceptive maneuver” which would eventually see the Russian entrepreneur handed over to the United States.

“Greece could potentially extradite Vinnik to the United States, California, San Francisco at short notice,” Belo said.

If Athens grants Washington’s extradition request, Vinnik faces up to 55 years behind bars. The suspect denied any wrongdoing, saying the case against him was nothing more than an American set-up.

Vinnik earlier told his lawyers that he would like to be extradited to Russia and tried there, to be close to his family. He also said he was ready to cooperate with Russian investigators. Moscow authorities suspect him of illegally obtaining 750 million rubles ($12.2 million) through “computer fraud” and stole 600,000 rubles ($9,780).

In 2018, Vinnik claimed he could shed light on other crimes involving cryptocurrencies, adding that disclosing such information could put his life at risk.

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