Greek court clears US extradition of Russian bitcoin fraud suspect

Greek court clears US extradition of Russian bitcoin fraud suspect

Greek court clears US extradition of Russian bitcoin fraud suspect

Vinnik, suspected of laundering $4 billion worth of bitcoin, was arrested while vacationing in northern Greece in July 2017.

Vinnik, who managed BTC-e, an exchange he operated for the Bitcoin crypto-currency, was indicted by a U.S. court in late July on 21 charges ranging from identity theft and facilitating drug trafficking, to money laundering.

Russian Federation is also seeking the extradition of Vinnik on suspicions of fraud, but there is still no date for the court hearing.

A Greek court approved the extradition of Russian citizen Alexander Vinnik to the USA where he is wanted in connection with a $4 billion bitcoin fraud, reports AP.

At least seven Russian nationals have been arrested or indicted worldwide this year in connection with USA cybercrime charges, Reuters reported, anything but alleviating tensions between former Cold War foes.

USA authorities also linked him to the failure of Mt. Gox, a Japan-based bitcoin exchange that collapsed in 2014 after being hacked. Along with his direct denial of the charges, he claimed he was just a technician uninvolved in the operations of BTC-e, and the laptop confiscated during his arrest merely housed cartoons for his children.

A hearing date for the Russian extradition request on lesser fraud charges has not yet been set.

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While Vinnik denies all charges laid against him by both countries, he has consented to Moscow's extradition request, but challenged USA efforts to have him transferred to America.

Bitcoin was the first digital currency to successfully use cryptography to keep transactions secure and pseudonymous, making it hard to subject them to conventional financial regulations.

He has the right to appeal to Greece's Supreme Court.

"We hope and expect a better outcome", Alexandros Lykourezos, the lawyer leading Vinnik's defence, told reporters.

Nikos Paraskevopoulos, the Greek Minister of Justice, will have the final word on the competing extradition cases, and may play a critical role in determining where Vinnik stands trial.

"We have faith in the Greek justice system and a long road ahead of us", the Reuters news agency quotes Xanthippi Moisidou, one of Vinnik's lawyers, as saying.

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