Alexander Vinnik, the former operator of the illegal crypto trading platform BTC-e, is now being extradited to the United States on several allegations of money laundering via the now shut down crypto exchange.
Because of his role as the alleged mastermind behind BTC-e, Vinnik has been on trial for five years. The crypto exchange is said to have benefited primarily from funds from illegal activities by laundering almost 4 billion US dollars in Bitcoin (BTC) on the platform.
Frédéric Bélot, Vinnik’s lawyer, confirmed to CNN today, August 5, that his client will be transferred from Greece to the United States, where the Russian citizen faces a number of charges in the District Court of Northern California, ranging from money laundering to the unlawful operation of an electronic money service provider.
The accused has been serving a prison sentence from France since December 2020, after being found guilty of money laundering in connection with organized crime. Vinnik’s objection that he was only an employee of the crypto exchange and not involved in the illegal activities of BTC-e was rejected.
Originally, Vinnik was arrested in 2017 while on vacation in Greece, after which France, the United States and Russia requested his extradition. At the beginning of 2020, Greece decided to extradite the suspect to France, although Russia had massively pushed for extradition during this time.
As Cointelegraph reported, Vinnik had actually agreed to his extradition to Russia, as a significantly lower sentence awaits him here. In the United States, the defendant faces up to 55 years in prison on 21 counts.