The lawyers for Alexander Vinnik, the alleged operator of defunct crypto exchange BTC-e, have filed a complaint alleging violation of Vinnik’s rights.
Written on behalf of Vinnik’s young children, the complaint has been filed with a Greek court to prevent the allegedly approaching criminal’s extradition to France and the United States.
Vinnik’s extradition from Greece was allegedly scheduled for last weekend
Timofey Musatov, the head of Vinnik’s legal representation alleges that Vinnik’s extradition had been scheduled for last weekend, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported Jan. 17.
Musatov suggested that Vinnik’s extradition had been planned for this past weekend based on enhanced security of the hospital department, where the alleged Bitcoin (BTC) launderer was kept in solitary confinement. The lawyer said on Friday:
“What I saw in the hospital today clearly shows that there is a new group that is ready to get him out at any moment. They usually had 12-15 internal security officers, which are now joined by external security armed with grenades, assault rifles and everything [...] Special forces are armed to the teeth everywhere, and this all concerns Vinnik. This is all very serious.”
Vinnik, who has been imprisoned for 30 months since he was arrested in Greece in July 2017, reportedly expects that he is going to be exploited in an information war against Russia, Musatov added.
Accused of operating an international crypto-related money laundering scheme that processed over $4 billion worth of capital flows, Vinnik publicly declared his innocence and even offered to help Russian President Vladimir Putin as a digital technology specialist. The alleged Bitcoin criminal, aka “Mr. Bitcoin,” previously argued that his rights were violated during his arrest in Greece and even went on a hunger strike in 2018 in order to “get a fair trial.”
Russia’s multiple attempts to prevent Vinnik’s extradition to other countries
The news comes against the backdrop of years of disagreement in regard to what jurisdiction should care about the Bitcoin laundering suspect. In mid-December 2019, the Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights of Greece reportedly decided to finally extradite Vinnik to France. This triggered frustration from the Russian government, which reportedly wants to bring Vinnik back.
Russia has not only filed a number of requests with Greek judicial authorities, but also sought help from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to bring the alleged criminal under its jurisdiction.
In November 2019, Vinnik’s mother Vera Vinnik appealed for his release, arguing that Greek authorities have shown "no mercy" despite his lawyers’ claim that hasn't been charged with anything in Greece. According to the recent report by RIA Novosti, Vinnik’s mother has not been allowed to say goodbye to her son ahead of another legal bid to end his detention.