Alexander Vinnik was allowed to extradite to homeland, France and the United States
The Supreme Court of Greece on Tuesday re-authorized the extradition of Alexander Vinnik to his homeland. He was arrested at the request of the United States, where a Russian citizen is accused of laundering at least $ 4 billion through a BTC-E crypto currency exchange. In the year that Mr. Vinnik spent in custody, the Greek court allowed him to be extradited to the United States and Russia, where he was charged with insignificant fraud, as well as to France, where he was being questioned in the case of large extortion through the same stock exchange. Now the final decision must be made by the Minister of Justice of Greece.
During the meeting on Tuesday at the Supreme Court of Greece on the second request of the Prosecutor General's Office about the extradition of the 39-year-old native of the city of Kurgan Alexander Vinnik, the latter stated that he wants to be extradited only to his homeland. "Crimes that are imputed to me in the US and France, I do not recognize," Mr. Vinnik said in court. According to him, in Russia he is ready to answer all the questions of the court, in a fair decision which he is sure - unlike the decisions of the courts of other countries. As a result, the request of the Russian side was satisfied.
This is the fourth decision of the Greek judiciary to extradite a Russian. In October 2017, the court of the city of Thessaloniki issued a ruling on the extradition of Alexander Vinnik to the United States and Russia simultaneously to bring to criminal responsibility. The final decision in this case under local legislation should be taken by the Minister of Justice of Greece Michalis Kalogiru. In July 2018, a similar decision was made in favor of France. True, the latter required the Russian to extradite only for the conduct of investigative actions (interrogation) on the so-called European warrant. In this case, no decisions of officials are required, and the French can send the Frenchman Winnick to the Greeks at least tomorrow. However, in this case, after the interrogation, Paris will have to return the Russian to Greece.
Recall that Alexander Vinnik was detained at the request of the US on July 25, 2017 in one of the most expensive hotels in the village of Ouranopolis in Halkidiki. At the same time, as it turned out from the testimony of a Russian in court, at the resort he not only rested. "While in Greece, I conducted legal transactions in bitcoins", - quotes the words of the detainee's lawyer Timofey Musatov.
From the materials submitted to the Greek side by the US prosecutor's office, it follows that for Alexander Vinnik special services were followed for several months. During this time, a whole dossier was collected concerning the cyber-fraudster, which Russians consider to be Americans. In the FBI believe that the fraud with crypto currency, Mr. Vinnik began to engage in as early as 2011, converting his criminal proceeds to the US dollar and the Russian ruble through the accounts of companies controlled by him. It was then that the Japanese stock exchange Mt. was hacked. Gox, which subsequently led to its bankruptcy. Specialists of the Japanese company WizSec, dealing with cybersecurity and, in particular, the investigation of the hacking of the Mt. Gox, believe that about 300 thousand bitcoins ($ 800 million) was withdrawn through the BTC-E platform under Alexander Vinnik's control over various accounts in banks of Latvia and Cyprus.
In the US, the damage caused by Mr. Vinnik is estimated at between $ 4 billion and $ 9 billion.
From the European warrant for the arrest and extradition of Alexander Vinnik to France, it follows that since February 2016 on the territory of this country he was engaged in extortion and his victims around the world have become almost 6 thousand people. By blackmailing them, according to the case file, the BTC-E exchange has received more than € 130 million. For this, a special extortion program called Locky was used, capable of encoding personal and professional documents of victims without their knowledge. For the decoding it was necessary to pay the ransom using the crypto currency. The platform of the BTC-E used by the alleged fraudsters, according to the French authorities, was successful in the analysis of payments of ransoms. It was she, said in the documents handed over to the Greeks, who received the same € 130 million (20,643 bitcoins).
Against this background, initiated in the summer of 2017 against Mr. Vinnik by the Investigation Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia for the Ostankino district of Moscow, a criminal case under part 3 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code (fraud on a large scale) does not look too impressive. As follows from the materials of the case, the basis for the criminal prosecution of Alexander Vinnik was the statement of representatives of one of the commercial structures. Businessmen signed a contract with Mr. Vinnik for the supply of equipment and transferred to his account more than 600 thousand rubles. However, the merchant did not receive the goods.
The lawyers of Mr. Vinnik, defending his innocence, are afraid of his extradition not only in the US, but also in France. They believe that the claims of French law enforcers to the Russians are based on documents of the American special services. "This is a joint special operation to get Alexander Vinnik," said one of the defenders.