Temporary win for Russian Federation in bid for bitcoin suspect

Greek Court Approves Russian Extradition Of Suspected BTC e Operator Alexander Vinnik

A panel of judges in Greece on October 11 accepted Russia's request for extradition of a Russian cybercrime suspect also being sought by the United States for allegedly masterminding a $4 billion bitcoin money laundering scheme.

Greece's justice minister will make the final call whether he will be handed over to the USA or Russian Federation.

On Wednesday, a different panel of judges accepted a Russian extradition request, which followed the initial US one.

The final decision will rest with Greece's justice minister once Vinnik, 37, has exhausted the process of appealing his extradition to the U.S.

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Accused Bitcoin money launderer Alexander Vinnik has scored a temporary victory in his effort to avoid extradition to the United States.

Following a USA request, Vinnik was arrested in July while on holiday with his family in the Halkidiki area of northern Greece, which is popular with Russian tourists. Last week, a Greek court ruled in favor of the USA extradition request.

In its ruling Wednesday, the court upheld the request from Russian Federation for Alexander Vinnik to return to his homeland and stand trial on lesser charges relating to alleged fraud worth 10,000 euros.

Vinnik said Wednesday he wants to be extradited to Russia, where the government has said it should get priority over the USA because he is a Russian citizen.

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USA prosecutors said Vinnik, as operator of the BTC-e exchange, "helped to launder criminal proceeds from syndicates around the world".

Vinnik, whose defence is run by Greek star attorney Alexandros Lykourezos, has denied the charges.

The charges, if proved in court, carry maximum sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

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