NEWS

Bitcoin suspect says he fears life sentence in US

TAGS: Justice, Crime, Diplomacy

The criminal section of Greece’s Supreme Court on Wednesday postponed a hearing of the appeal of Russian cybercrime suspect Alexander Vinnik against his extradition to the US until December 6. 

Vinnik’s appeal is against a decision by a Thessaloniki appeals court that ruled in favor of his extradition to the US, where he is wanted in connection with a 4-billion-dollar bitcoin fraud case. 

In an interview with Kathimerini – the first with a Greek paper – Vinnik said he feared that if he is extradited he will “never return from the US.” 

“They want to impose a 55-year sentence, which basically means that I will be deprived of my freedom for life,” he said. 

Russia also wants to put the 38-year-old on trial and on October 11 the Thessaloniki Council of Appeals Court Judges had accepted a request from Moscow for his extradition. He told Kathimerini that he would prefer to be tried in Russia. 

“They are objective [in Russia],” he said, adding that “our courts are honest.” 

According to prominent lawyer Alexandros Lykourezos, Wednesday’s hearing was delayed to secure the testimony of two key witnesses, both Russian nationals, who were not able to appear in court.   

One of the witnesses has taken legal action against Vinnik in Cyprus, alleging that the suspect is the owner of a major company that illegally trades in bitcoins.

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