Greece: Extradition of alleged $4bn bitcoin fraud mastermind approved
04 Oct 2017

By Karolina Tagaris, REUTERS

4 October 2017

A Greek court cleared the way on Wednesday for the extradition to the United States of a Russian, also wanted by Moscow, suspected of laundering billions of dollars in digital currency bitcoin.

Alexander Vinnik, the alleged mastermind of a $4 billion (£3 billion) bitcoin laundering ring, is one of seven Russians arrested or indicted worldwide this year on U.S. cybercrime charges.

Since his arrest in a beachside village in northern Greece in late July, Moscow has also requested he be returned home, as it has previously done with other nationals wanted by the U.S.

Vinnik, who appealed Wednesday’s decision, is accused of running BTC-e — a digital currency exchange used to trade bitcoin — to facilitate crimes ranging from computer hacking to drug trafficking since 2011.

U.S. authorities also linked him to the failure of Mt. Gox, a Japan-based bitcoin exchange that collapsed in 2014 after being hacked. They say Vinnik “obtained” funds from the hack of Mt. Gox and laundered them through BTC-e and Tradehill, another San Francisco-based exchange he owned.

Vinnik, who faces up to 55 years in prison if extradited to the United States, denies all charges against him, saying he was a technical consultant to BTC-e and not its operator.

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