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Suspected Bitcoin Launderer Vinnik Extradited to France

By Jon Buck
Suspected Bitcoin Launderer Vinnik Extradited to France 101
Alexander Vinnik. Source: a video screenshot, Youtube, Kostas Koukoumakas

Russian bitcoin laundering suspect Alexander Vinnik is now in France, confirmed his lawyer Zoe Konstantopoulou.

He was extradited following a ruling by the Greek Council of State, published on Thursday, according to local media.

Vinnik was arrested on vacation in France on charges of money laundering through his platform BTC-e. The charges against him include the processing of bitcoin stolen during the now-infamous Mt.Gox hack, and total more than USD 4 billion.

The Russian hacker is wanted by a host of nations, including the United States, France, and Russia. All charges relate to the missing BTC 300,000 that were reportedly tracked to Vinnik’s wallet.

While the Greek government appears happy to comply with France’s request for extradition, other nations are not so pleased. The Russian government representative, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, said:

“The decision to extradite him to France is inadmissible as long as no explanations have been provided why he is not extradited to Russia. His family has been broken up, his right to life and health violated.”

While the Russian protest may appear well-intentioned, the government has also sought to extradite him for trial, and had even won a case with the Greek magistrates as far back as September 2018.

Meanwhile, the stolen BTC remains unaccounted for. Even the Mt. Gox trustee has requested extradition for trial, and most hope that the missing coins can be recovered, or at least tracked with information Vinnik might possess.

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