Russian authorities are not stopping their efforts to help Alexander Vinnik — an alleged fraudster who is accused of laundering as much as $4 billion in Bitcoin (BTC) — to return to his homeland.
In another attempt to extradite Vinnik, the Russian Embassy reportedly requested that France place the alleged former BTC-e operator under house arrest in Russia.
The latest extradition request is reportedly driven by intensifying concerns over Vinnik’s health amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The news was reported by Russia’s pro-government publication RT on April 15, citing Alexey Meshkov, the Russian Ambassador in Paris.
France purportedly ignored Russia’s request to pay attention to Vinnik’s health
According to the report, the Russian Embassy has sent a diplomatic note to the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. This letter requests that the French Ministry consider relocating Vinnik from the Fresnes Prison in France to house arrest in Russia.
In order to bring the alleged Bitcoin fraudster to Russia, local authorities have reportedly reaffirmed their willingness to provide Vinnik with a state-owned apartment. The move followed a March 30 request to the French Ministry to ensure proper monitoring of Vinnik’s health and reporting of coronavirus-related measures. According to the report, the Ministry has ignored the request so far.
Convicted Russian agent Maria Butina reports about Vinnik’s health issues
According to RT, Vinnik’s home arrest request was revealed in Meshkov’s response to a special query by Maria Butina, a convicted Russian agent that was released from a United States prison in October 2019. Butina, who is also involved in crypto by her ties with crypto advocate Patrick Byrne, reportedly said that Vinnik’s health problems could turn deadly if he gets infected by the novel coronavirus.
Noting that she is in touch with 39-year old Vinnik as well as his mother and lawyer, Butina reportedly said:
“Vinnik’s health situation is indeed very complicated, and the coronavirus infection could pose him a risk of fatal outcome. I hope that the French authorities will be guided by their own stance of humanism and choose to save the life of a person who is at severe risk by giving Vinnik the opportunity to await the trial under house arrest.”
As reported by Cointelegraph, Vinnik has spent over 30 months in detention by now. To date, Russia has taken multiple steps to bring Vinnik to his homeland since the alleged Bitcoin criminal was first arrested in Greece in July 2017. As reported, Russian authorities even sought help from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to bring the alleged criminal under its jurisdiction.