The accused BTC-e operator Alexander Vinnik has reportedly been extradited to America to face charges of money laundering while working on the now defunct cryptocurrency exchange.
For the past five years, Vinnik has been embroiled in legal battles over his alleged role as the mastermind behind BTC-e. The cryptocurrency exchange is said to have profited from various illegal activities that used the Bitcoin (BTC) laundering platform worth around $4 billion.
Vinnik’s lawyer Frederic Belo said American news network CNN reported on Aug. 5 that Vinnik was on his way from Greece to the United States, where he will face multiple charges in California’s Northern District Court. The Russian citizen is accused of money laundering and operating an unlicensed money service in America, among other charges.
The accused has already been serving a five-year sentence in France since December 2020 after being convicted of money laundering as part of an organized crime group. Vinnik’s lawyers filed an appeal, which was unsuccessful, arguing that Vinnik was just an employee of the exchange and had nothing to do with illegal activities on BTC-e.
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Vinnik was originally arrested in Greece while on holiday in 2017, and from that point on, America, France and Russia fought for his extradition. The Greek Council of State decided to extradite Vinnik to France in early 2020, despite numerous attempts by Russia to demand his transit under their jurisdiction.
As Cryptooshala previously reported, Vinnik agreed to an extradition request from Russia, given that he faces much less serious charges. On the contrary, Vinnik faces up to 55 years in prison in America on 21 counts of unlicensed money transactions, money laundering and related crimes brought by the Department of Justice.
Credit : cointelegraph.com