The supposed ring leader of an international cyber crime scheme has lost his appeal against his extradition to the US. Alexander Vinnik of the now defunct BTC-e exchange is wanted on 21 counts of money laundering and other offences in the United States. Some of the illegal funds go right back to the infamous Mt. Gox compromise scandal in 2013. The other charges relate to drug trafficking and computer hacking.
Vinnik was arrested whilst holidaying in northern Greece this July. He’s one of seven Russians indicted by the US this year for charges relating to cyber crime. According to American authorities, he masterminded the laundering of over $4 billion using Bitcoin. He denies the allegations against him, stating that he was never the operator of BTC-e, but rather their technical consultant.
He faces extradition to the US where he would have to defend himself against the counts of money laundering against him. He denies responsibility and has appealed to the Greek authorities to deny his deportation. Today, however, he lost his case.
Vinnik also faces additional charges in his native Russia. These are much less severe being as they amount to around 10,000 euros fraudulently obtained. It is not uncommon for Moscow to attempt to step in when one of their nationals is wanted by the US. Since his arrest, Vinnik has agreed to be returned to Russia but adamantly refutes the charges he faces in the States. However, the Greek Supreme Court rejected his appeal earlier today.
Things are looking bleak for Vinnik, certainly. However, all is not lost yet for him. The final decision over where he’ll end up being sent to stand trial is up to the Greek Justice Minister. It’s typical that they step in when such disputes arise. Whether he’ll be returned to the his native land or face a lengthy jail sentence in the United States remains to be seen.