US Extradites Russian Accused of Crypto Laundering

Blockchain & Cryptocurrency , Cybercrime , Fraud Management & Cybercrime

Alexander Vinnik Makes First Apperance in US Federal Court Prajeet Nair (@prajeetspeaks) • August 5, 2022     Alexander Vinnik at the Supreme Court, Athens, Greece on Nov. 15, 2017. (Source: Shutterstock)

A Russian national accused of running a cryptocurrency exchange used to launder proceeds from hacking made his first appearance before San Francisco federal court today.

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The United States extradited Alexander Vinnik, 42, from Greece after France returned him there Thursday for court proceedings. A Paris court sentenced Vinnik in December 2020 to a five year sentence for money laundering. Greek authorities first arrested Vinnik in 2017 at the behest of the United States (see: Greece Will Send Russian Cybercrime Suspect to France).

Vinnik, who allegedly founded now-defunct crypto exchange BTC-e in 2011, faces up to 55 years imprisonment under U.S. law for a raft of charges that include money laundering and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions. Federal prosecutors say BTC-e, which shut down in 2017, received deposits worth more than $4 billion worth of bitcoin. Vinnik “maintains his innocence,” his lawyer Frédéric Bélot tells Information Security Media Group.

Russian state-owned newswire Tass says Kremlin diplomats intend to provide him legal support during U.S. proceedings. Moscow sought his return to Russia after his arrest in Greece; Vinnik faces lesser embezzlement and computer fraud charges in Russia. Tass

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