Russian national Alexander Vinnik, the former operator of now-shuttered crypto exchange BTC-e, appeals to the Greek court for his release or extradition to Russia as reported by the local media outlet Kathimerini on March 21.
Vinnik has been accused of fraud and laundering for about $4 billion in Bitcoin (BTC) over the course of six years, has reportedly filed an appeal with Piraeus court requesting release or extradition to Russia for humanitarian reasons.
Earlier, Russia’s Commissioner for Human Rights Tatyana Moskalkova have had made a similar request to both the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and Greek Justice Minister Michalis Kalogirou to help extradite Vinnik to Russia. At the time, Moskalkova stressed that Vinnik’s wife was seriously ill and is on the brink of death, stated:
“Given the extraordinary humanitarian situation, I would ask for help extraditing him [Vinnik] to Russia so that he could be closer to his family.”
In addition, Moskalkova sent letters to the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, the Greek Health Minister Andreas Xanthos, and the Greek Ombudsman, Andreas Pottakis asking them to provide Vinnik with medical assistance following the hunger strike.
Apart from Russia, French authorities also sought Vinnik’s extradition to France with regards to a further series of fraud allegations. Vinnik is accused by the French authorities of “defraud[ing] over 100 people in six French cities between 2016 and 2018.”
In late February, the Russian Supreme Court included the illicit use of cryptocurrencies in the list of criminal offenses related to money laundering. The amendments were reportedly developed in order to comply with recommendations from the international Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering.