Cyprus Court Withdraws Money Laundering, Fraud Lawsuit Against Alleged BTC-e Operator
A Cyprus court has dropped the lawsuit against alleged BTC-e former operator Alexander Vinnik, with the next session scheduled for Nov. 29.
The lawyer for Alexander Vinnik, the alleged former operator of defunct cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e, has said that a district court in Cyprus has withdrawn their lawsuit on charges “of fraud, money laundering and other crimes.” This development was reported by state-operated Russian news agency RIA Novosti Nov. 27.
Timofey Musatov, the head of the lawyers’ group representing Vinnik, has said that the district court of Limassol city has formally granted the plaintiffs’ petition to recall their lawsuit against Vinnik and even ruled “to compensate the defendant for all legal costs incurred by him.” Musatov added:
“The case against Alexander collapsed at an early stage and, importantly, at the initiative of the plaintiffs themselves, which clearly indicates the weakness of the accusatory component against Alexander, the vulnerability of the legal position of the plaintiffs and their unwillingness to bring the case to open legal proceedings.”
Meanwhile, this withdrawal does not mean that the case against Vinnik has been closed. Greece is now considering an appeal for France’s request for the extradition of Vinnik, a Russian citizen. The next court session is scheduled Nov. 29, RIA Novosti reports.
In 2017, Greece’s Supreme Court ruled to extradite Vinnik to the U.S., where he faces charges of money laundering and fraud. Back in July, the Greek court had already ruled to extradite Vinnik to France on charges of fraud and money laundering, reportedly involving up to $4 billion in Bitcoin (BTC), as Cointelegraph reported Jul. 14.
This fall, Russia also requested Vinnik’s extradition to face several cyber fraud charges. The Supreme Civil and Criminal Court of Greece ruled in Russia’s favor, leaving the question of Vinnik’s final extradition location unclear, Cointelegraph wrote Sep. 4.
Earlier this week, Musatov said that his client would go on a hunger strike starting Nov. 26 in order to protest the alleged “stripping” of his rights for defense in France and Greece.