Russian cryptocurrency entrepreneur Aleksandr Vinnik who has been charged by the US of bitcoin fraud has rejected conditions offered by US investigators, and has asked to be extradited to Russia where he is also sought on similar charges, for trial.
On July 27, 2017 media reported that Vinnik has been charged with 21 counts, including laundering stolen funds from the hack of the “Mt Gox” Bitcoin exchange. According to the BBC he has led a gang who committed the crimes and laundered some 4 billion dollars over several years until his arrest.
On May 10, 2018 Sputnik reported that the Greek police had discovered a plot to poison Vinnik. It reported that “Vinnik has been forbidden from receiving any things, food or water from any people he did not know, his guard has been enhanced, and he is only allowed to move around the prison with beefed up security around him so that he would not come in contact with other inmates, the source added.” Due to the seriousness of the information Vinnik has regarding some crimes involving cryptocurrencies his life may be in danger. It is believed that those who are trying to take Vinnik’s life maybe those who do not want him to come back to Russia and reveal those damning information.
The website of the suspected company, BTC-e, was seized and taken down by the US authorities as he was arrested in Greece. Later the company rebranded as WEX and helped investors associated with the company get their money back.
Vinnik says that the arrest is politically motivated and stems from the strained relations between USA and Russia. In an interview he said that “…they(US authorities) even violate their own laws, the charge is made with violation of US laws. And from a technical point of view, the accusation is very unprofessional.”
If he is extradited to the USA and found guilty he could face up to 55 years in prison. But with Russia also seeking his extradition and with a human rights appeal by Vinnik’s lawyers against sending him to USA, the Greek Minister of Justice has the final word now.