Greek Court Backs Extradition of Alleged Bitcoin Exchange Operator to US


A Greek court has backed a request that the alleged former operator of bitcoin exchange BTC-e should be extradited to the U.S. for trial.

The accused, Alexander Vinnik, is wanted in U.S. for allegedly operating the exchange without a license, and using it as a platform to launder money to the tune of $4 billion.

Soon after today’s ruling, lawyers of the accused reportedly moved to appeal the decision.

According to Associated Press, Vinnik’s lawyer, Alexandros Lykourezos, said: “We have taken immediate action and appealed the ruling and the case will be examined by the criminal division of the Supreme Court.”

Speaking at his hearing today, Vinnik denied his role as the operator of BTC-e, claiming he had merely worked as a technician for the platform.

The News Tribune reports that Vinnik told the court:

“I have nothing to do with what I am accused of.”

The accused also claimed that the laptop seized during his arrest was in no way related to his employment, adding that it contained only children’s cartoons for his family.

Vinnik was arrested in July while on holiday in Greece soon after the sudden closure of the BTC-e exchange by international law enforcement officials.

The Russian is also wanted for extradition to his home country in connection with the same crimes.

Greek courts have yet to make a formal decision on the request, although Vinnik’s lawyers reportedly said in today’s appeal that they had no plans to contest extradition to Russia.

Vinnik’s wife, Alexandra, previously told RT she thought U.S. extradition would be “weird,” as the accused had neither lived nor worked in the country.

Airplane image via Shutterstock

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