Russian cybercrime suspect, Alexander Vinnik, has been held in Greece since July when the U.S requested him to be arrested while he was on vacation with his family. He is directly tied to the obsolete BTC-e bitcoin exchange and is wanted by both the US and Russia for laundering Bitcoin.
His extradition hearing was set for today but was postponed because they are waiting for two witnesses to attend the hearing. It has been rescheduled for Dec. 6th.
He is currently at the center of a judicial battle between the U.S and Russia, who is seeking his extradition on lesser charges. The U.S seeks to prosecute Mr. Vinnik for $4 Billion USD worth of laundered bitcoin through BTC-e, whereas Russia only accuses him of 667,000-ruble ($11,500) of fraud.
Athens courts have approved the extradition requests of both countries, but Vinnik is only appealing his extradition to the U.S. He is denying all charges on both sides but is not contesting being extradited to his home country. He has acknowledged working for BTC-e but strongly declares his innocence. Coincidentally, BTC-e has relaunched after their domain was confiscated by law enforcement and they deny any involvement with the suspect, Vinnik.
One of Vinnik’s lawyers, Alexandros Lykourezos, explains the reason for the postponement of the hearing by saying:
“We asked the court to postpone the hearing today of the U.S. request for the extradition of Vinnik so that two essential witnesses can come who couldn’t unfortunately come to Athens today. These witnesses will be able to testify and help the court understand the essential issues that arise from this case.”
The suspect is being indicted by a grand jury in North District of California, as reported by the U.S Justice Department, and is facing charges of engaging in unlawful monetary transactions, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. In the U.S these charges combined hold a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison.
On December 6th Greece’s justice minister might have to make the final decision if Greece’s Supreme Court upholds the lower court’s order.
Featured Image: twitter