Russian Human Rights Commissioner Seeks UN Help to Extradite Alexander Vinnik

Russia’s Commissioner for Human Rights has asked the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to help extradite the former operator of now-defunct crypto exchange BTC-e, Alexander Vinnik, from Greece to Russia. The news was reported by Russian news outlet TASS on March 5.

At a meeting between commissioners Tatyana Moskalkova and Michelle Bachelet on March 5, Moskalkova reportedly noted that Vinnik has been in critical condition because of the hunger strike he started in November, 2018. Moskalkova also pointed out that Vinnik’s wife is seriously ill and is on the brink of death. The ombudswoman said:

"Given the extraordinary humanitarian situation, I would ask for help extraditing him [Vinnik] to Russia so that he could be closer to his family."

In late February, Moskalkova called on Greek Justice Minister Michalis Kalogirou to extradite Vinnik to Russia following his deteriorating health and the institution of criminal proceedings against him in Russia.

Moskalkova also sent letters to the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, the Greek Health Minister Andreas Xanthos, and the Greek Ombudsman, Andreas Pottakis, asking to provide Vinnik with medical assistance following the hunger strike.

Vinnik was arrested by Greek police in July 2017 at the request of the United States Department of Justice. Authorities accused him of fraud and laundering as much as 300,000 Bitcoin (BTC), (worth $4 billion at the time) over the course of six years.

French authorities also accused Vinnik of “defraud[ing] over 100 people in six French cities between 2016 and 2018.” Russia and France have since both sought the defendant’s extradition in regard to a further series of fraud allegations.