Russian bitcoin fraud suspect in extradition trial


A Thessaloniki court on Friday opened an extradition trial of a Russian cybercrime suspect charged with masterminding a money laundering racket using the digital currency bitcoin. 

Alexander Vinnik, who was arrested in Halkidiki on July 25, is wanted in the US for a series of alleged crimes including laundering some 4 billion dollars on BTC-e, an exchange used to trade bitcoin and other digital currencies. 

The 38-year-old is also wanted for fraud, on a much smaller scale, in Russia. 

In his appearance before Greek judges in Thessaloniki yesterday, Vinnik claimed to have had “nothing to do” with the charges. 

Alexandros Lykourezos, a prominent lawyer leading the legal team representing Vinnik, claimed that there are no grounds on which to base his client’s extradition to the US.

Moreover, he claimed that the extradition request should be rejected out of hand as the testimonies of two FBI agents that are included in the case file were taken seven months after the US warrant for his arrest was issued.

Judges are expected to announce their verdict on the US extradition request next Wednesday, October 4.

A court date for the Russian request has yet to be set but a panel of judges is expected to examine that request next week too.