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Alexander Vinnik of BTC-e fame is likely to end up in US, not Russian, custody after a Greek ruling.
Greece’s Supreme Court has upheld a US request to extradite alleged former BTC-e operator Alexander Vinnik.
Reports Wednesday confirm the support of sending the embattled Russian citizen to the US, where he faces money laundering charges.
Greece’s justice minister will now decide the ultimate outcome, with Russia and the US vying for custody of Vinnik for several months.
The move marks a blow for Vinnik himself, who had petitioned to be sent to his native country where he is wanted on lesser charges.
Since his initial arrest in Greece in July, BTC-e has ceased to exist, being reincarnated as WEX. Legal investigations are nonetheless still ongoing, with US authorities seeking to hand down fines totalling $122 mln between the exchange and Vinnik respectively.
Denying personal involvement beyond peripheral “advisory” role, Vinnik maintains his innocence.
In October, a lower Greek court had recommended “satisfying Russia’s request” for extradition, adding there was “no reason not to” hand him over to Moscow.
“The Supreme Court has in essence accepted that our client should be sent to the United States,” Vinnik’s lawyer said in official comments following the ruling.
“Our client has not made any response. He listened to the ruling as it was read out… It is now up to the justice minister to decide when and where our client will be sent.”
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