A court in Paris is due next week to extradite prominent bitcoin launderer Alexander Vinnik back to Greece – where he was arrested five years ago – so that he can then be sent to the United States.
The 43-year-old Russian national was handed over to France in December 2019, where he was sentenced to five years for money laundering. Under the decision from Greece’s then justice minister, Kostas Tsiaras, Greek authorities can now extradite him to the US, where Vinnik is accused of laundering some $4 billion through the crypto exchange platform BTC-e.
His Greek lawyer, former SYRIZA parliamentary speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou, is trying to prevent his extradition to the US, where, she says, he will effectively be a “hostage” because of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. She also opposes the extradition on humanitarian grounds, as Vinnik’s wife died in 2020 and they have two sons, now aged 8 and 11, who are growing up without their parents.