Russia blasts Greece over court decision on cybercrime suspect
The Russian Foreign Ministry leveled new criticism at Greece on Friday over a court's decision to extradite a Russian cybercrime suspect to France, two days after it was revealed Greece would expel two Russian diplomats and ban the entry into Greece of two more, accusing them of meddling in domestic affairs.
The court in Thessaloniki accepted a French extradition request for Alexander Vinnik, a former bitcoin operator arrested on a US-issued international arrest warrant in northern Greece last year.
France has charged the 38-year-old with alleged cybercrime, money laundering, membership in a criminal organization and extortion.
“Yielding to external pressure, the Greek authorities continue to complicate relations with Russia. Several days after taking an unfriendly decision to expel Russian diplomats and to deny entry to several Russian citizens, they have adopted a decision to extradite Russian citizen Alexander Vinnik to France,” the foreign ministry said.
The ministry accused Greece of “turning a blind eye” to a request from Russian authorities and warned that Russia “cannot leave these actions unanswered.”
Last year, separate lower courts accepted extradition requests by the United States, where he is wanted in connection with a 4-billion-dollar bitcoin fraud case, and Russia, where he is wanted for lesser fraud charges.
In December of 2017, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the US extradition request. In cases of competing requests, the final decision is taken by Greece's justice minister.