The accused Bitcoin- (BTC)-e operator Alexander Vinnik has been extradited to America to face multiple charges of money laundering while working on a now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange.
Vinnik has been embroiled in legal battles over the past five years for his alleged role as the mastermind of BTC-e. The cryptocurrency exchange is said to have profited from various illicit activities that used the platform to launder $4 billion worth of bitcoin.
Vinnik’s attorney, Frederic Bello, told CNN on Frieda that Vinnik was on his way from Greece to the United States, where he is scheduled to face a range of charges in California’s Northern District Court. The Russian citizen is accused of money laundering and operating an unlicensed money service in America, among other charges.
The accused has already been serving a five-year prison sentence in France since December 2020, after being convicted of money laundering as part of an organized criminal group. Vinnik’s lawyers had filed an unsuccessful appeal, asserting that Vinnik was merely an employee of the exchange and had no involvement in illegal activities on BTC-e.
Related Topics: Life After Crime: What Happens to Cryptocurrency Seized in Criminal Investigations?
Vinic was originally arrested in Greece while on vacation in 2017, with the United States, France and Russia battling for his extradition from that point on. Greece’s Council of State chose to extradite Vinnik to France in early 2020, despite Russia’s many attempts to request his transfer to its jurisdiction.
As Cointelegraph previously reported, Vinnik has agreed to an extradition request from Russia, given that he faces much less serious charges. In contrast, Vinnik faces up to 55 years in prison in America with 21 counts of unlicensed money services business, money laundering and related crimes brought by the Department of Justice.