NEWS

Court rules to extraditeRussian suspect to France

IOANNA MANDROU

TAGS: Justice, Crime

A 39-year-old Russian national suspected of bitcoin fraud and wanted by three countries is to be first extradited to France, according to a ruling issued Thursday by the Council of State.

Alexander Vinnik, known as Mr Bitcoin, is accused in the United States of being the mastermind of a 4-billion-dollar bitcoin laundering ring. But France and Russia have also sought his extradition on lesser fraud charges.

The ruling Thursday basically rejected an appeal by Vinnik against a decision by Justice Minister Konstantinos Tsiaras to approve three extradition requests against him, by France, the US and Russia, in that order.

It said the decision was “not a government act,” adding that it simply put in order of priority three countries that are seeking a citizen’s extradition.

It noted that extraditing Vinnik to Russia first would undermine the other extradition appeals as he would most likely not be extradited further to the other countries afterward.

In its reasoning, the court deemed that the minister’s decision does not violate Vinnik’s human rights, as his lawyer had claimed.

The decision was issued by the acting president of the country’s highest administrative court, Athanasios Rantos, who has already assumed its top post following the election of his predecessor Katerina Sakellaropoulou as Greece’s new president on Wednesday.

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