Multi-Billion Dollar Bitcoin Launderer is Charged in France
Russian citizen Alexander Vinnik, suspected of assisting criminals in laundering billions, was extradited to France where he will face criminal charges.
Major suspect in a money-laundering operation to be charged in France
Alexander Vinnik, a Russian citizen, was arrested in Greece back in 2017 due to his suspected involvement in a massive money-laundering operation that allegedly involved billions of dollars. Vinnik was accused of supervising a crypto exchange that allowed criminals to launder huge amounts of money.
During his incarceration, several of the world’s powers — Russia, France, and the US — have been negotiating his extradition. Now, according to the statement from his defense, he will be facing charges in France.
Vinnik was extradited to France last Thursday, and the authorities have charged him with aggravated money laundering, extortion, conspiracy, as well as harming data-processing systems. However, for now, the authorities did not reveal when and if the trial will begin. Instead, the investigation is still on-going for the moment.
This also means that Vinnik will be forced to stay in France for as long as the case remains open. After the conclusion of the case, the authorities will return him to Greece, from where he will be extradited once again, this time to the US. Finally, when the US case against him is over, he will finally be sent back to Russia.
Defense claims Vinnik is targeted due to nationality and computer skills
Vinnik’s defense team consists of multiple lawyers, one of whom, Zoi Konstantopoulou, said that Vinnik was being persecuted due to his knowledge regarding computers, and his nationality.
Alexander’s crime is to be Russian and a person with extraordinary technological knowledge that could liberate people economically.
According to Konstantopoulou, his understanding of modern technology is seen as a threat to the banking system. The team also filed a complaint, claiming that Vinnik was mistreated and that the very length of his detention is inhumane.
Konstantopoulou took the word here as well, claiming that the Greek Minister of Justice has already decided that Vinnik will spend the rest of his life being extradited and judged, only to be re-extradited and re-judged multiple times over in a neverending cycle.
However, many believe that this is the only way to determine the truth and his guilt, as the charges against him are serious enough for multiple nations to be extremely concerned.
He was accused of supervising BTC-e, a crypto exchange that helped numerous criminals move illegal money anonymously. Furthermore, the exchange is also supposedly tied to the Russian military intelligence hacking unit, which is also connected to manipulations of Democrats’ emails during the 2016 US elections. The case is extremely complicated, and many expect that it will take a long time to have it completely resolved.
What do you think about accusations against Vinnik? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and let us know.
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