The former BTC-e founder Alexander Vinnik is currently in the custody of authorities in France, after being named in a $4 billion BTC money laundering scandal. Vinnik has been the subject of an intense legal struggle in recent months, with several countries, including his native country Russia, asserting their own rights to prosecute.
Extradition request highlights concerns for Vinnik’s safety amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
According to local news reports, the latest extradition request by Russia highlights concerns for Vinnik’s safety amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Russia has been fighting for Vinnik’s extradition for a long time now. The former Russian agent Maria Butina said Vinnik has existing health conditions that put his health at risk in his ongoing detention in France. Vinnik’s health situation is indeed very complicated, and the coronavirus infection could pose him a risk of fatal outcome, the agent said. The request asks France authorities to hand over Vinnik to Russia, promising to detain him on their behalf under house arrest.
Alexander Vinnik is also wanted in the USA for money-laundering charges.
Alexander Vinnik was arrested on July 25, 2017, in Greece at the request of US authorities. Vinnik stands accused of laundering $4 to $9 billion using his crypto exchange in the United States. The crypto exchange is now out of operation. He was finally extradited to France earlier this year against his desire to go back to his homeland and face charges there. The accused bitcoin launderer has been custody for the last 30 months without facing any trial. Zoe Konstantopoulou, the lawyer of Vinnik, had accused Greek authorities of violating her client’s rights by holding him in arbitrary detention for 30 months.
Alexander Vinnik is yet to face charges in the US, where he stands accused of laundering billions of dollars using his now-defunct crypto exchange BTC-e. However, Vinnik faces much less severe charges in his home country Russia.