Alleged Russian Bitcoin defrauder Alexander Vinnik, arrested last year in Greece and awaiting extradition to Russia, is now wanted by the French authorities, according to Expatica.
The French police wish to speak to the ex-head of cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e, now joining both the US and Russia, over claims that he had defrauded 100 people in six French cities between 2016 and 2018. Vinnik has been in jail in the resort town of Halkidki since his arrest in July of 2017.
According to French prosecutors, it is alleged that Vinnik continued to operate his Bitcoin platform even while incarcerated, continuing to launch cyber-fraud attacks targeting French nationals and others worldwide. Vinnik, 38, appeared in court in Thessaloniki on Wednesday following the request from France. Greek authorities have rejected his request for continued asylum in Greece.
The Russian was also indicted by a US court last year on 21 charges of identity theft, drug trafficking, and money laundering charges and is wanted by the Russian court for separate fraud charges relating to that country.
Although the Greek supreme court has ordered that the ex BTC-e CEO should be extradited to the US, the final decision is in the hands of Greek justice minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos. It’s been reported that Vinnik wishes to be extradited to his own country to face charges there.
The US Justice Department claims that as the CEO of BTC-e, Vinnik used the exchange to launder more than USD 4 billion for others involved in crimes from computer hacking to drug trafficking. He has also been linked to the Mt Gox failure having received funds from the hacking, laundering these through both his exchange and Tradehill, another San Francisco exchange under the same ownership, according to the Daily Mail.
The US Treasury Department has fined BTC-e USD 110 million for violating US AML laws of which he has been ordered to pay USD 12 million.
“Just as new computer technologies continue to change the way we engage each other and experience the world, so too will criminals subvert these new technologies to serve their own nefarious purposes,” said Brian Stretch, US attorney for the Northern District of California.
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