French Court Upholds Alexander Vinnick as Both Kremlin and Washington Seek Extradition

As the French government’s reluctance surrounding the illegal use of crypto assets grows, a local court in Paris has upheld a five-years-long prison term in a money laundering case against Alexander Vinnick, a former official of the digital assets trading platform BTC-e.

While upholding the December verdict against Vinnick, the court stated that the Russian national was involved in an organized crime of money laundering. Plus, he provided false data about the proceed’s origins.

The defense team faced a loss in the proceedings as the judge dismissed its appeals to review the evidence provided by the American federal agency. Yet, the dismissal of the fine -100,000 Euros – was in favor of Vinnick.

Besides that, the court also dismissed the initial allegations leveled by the American law enforcement that he wronged as many as 200 people through ransomware. As per French law, the defense team has five days to file for an appeal. 

Vinnick’s Unusual Arrest

Back in 2017, when the Russian developer was vacationing in Europe, the Greek law enforcement took him into custody at the request of the US FBI. American agencies have accused Vinnick of laundering more than four billion dollars through the BTC-e. 

Later in January 2020, he was extradited to France, where he was put under trial and sentenced to five years in prison along with the fine in December. 

Washington and Kremlin Demanding Extradition

In 2018, when Vinick went on a hunger strike in Greece, the Russian officials sought the UN’s human rights council to vouch for the Russian national and asked for extradition. At that time, the commission expressed its concerns over the worsening health of Finnick and his family. Per media reports, her wife has been diagnosed with life-threatening cancer.

Meanwhile, experts say that the Kremlin’s requests are motivated by concerns of its intelligence data and operations falling into the hands of Washington. Not only that, but some experts have also said that the Russian government might have used the now-defunct BTC-e to acquire Bitcoins for classified tasks.

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