Bitcoin Exchange BTC-e ‘Operator’ Vinnik Faces US Trial Unless Supreme Court Intervenes
A Greek court has given permission for BTC-e ‘operator’ Alexander Vinnik to stand trial in the US, but he will appeal the decision.
Greece has told alleged BTC-e (WEX.nz) operator Alexander Vinnik he will face trial in the US unless the Supreme Court decides otherwise.
As Reuters reports Wednesday, Vinnik, who the US seeks on charges relating to money laundering, hacking and drug trafficking, will now appeal against the extradition.
The FBI seized 45 percent of BTC-e’s funds in August and issued an arrest warrant for Vinnik, who denies being the Bitcoin exchange’s operator.
Fines of $12 mln for Vinnik, and $110 mln for BTC-e are also in play.
At the same time, Russia has requested its citizen comes home to stand trial for lesser offences. It is now up to Greece’s Supreme Court to decide Vinnik’s final destination, with the country’s justice minister able to overturn the decision at will.
“We hope and expect a better outcome,” lead defence lawyer Alexandros Lykourezos said after the hearing.
Users of BTC-e do not face legal punishments as part of the ongoing US legal pursuit, but have had to accept part reimbursement of lost funds in the form of temporary tokens.
Vinnik himself has expressed obvious preference to end up in Russia, telling local news outlet Russia Today last month that he would even help president Vladimir Putin advance the country’s technological status using his expertise.
His links with BTC-e were only ever in the role of technical consultant, he maintains.