The Russian national, who faces crypto-related charges in the Northern District Court of California, is reportedly being extradited from Greece to the US.
Alexander Vinnik is the operator of BTC-e, a multi-billion dollar cryptocurrency exchange with alleged ties to criminal organizations.
Vinnik is accused of laundering funds from the infamous hack of the now-defunct digital asset exchange Mt. Gox across various exchanges including BTC-e.
Vinnik was arrested in Greece in 2017 and extradited to France, where he was sentenced to five years in prison for money laundering. The United States and Russia both filed extradition requests from Greece, but the United States will be granted custody of Vinnik due to recent developments.
Citing Frédéric Bélot, Vinnik’s lawyer in France, CNN reports that the defendant is already on board a plane from Athens, Greece, to the United States as of Thursday afternoon and will appear in court in the Northern District of California.
Vinnik also co-founded BTC-e’s successor, Wex, which has reportedly turned over $450 million in crypto assets from investors to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).
Said then-Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (CI) Chief Don Fort when Vinnik and BTC-e were indicted in 2017,
“Mister. Vinnik is said to have committed and facilitated a variety of crimes that go well beyond the lack of regulation of the bitcoin exchange he runs. Through his actions, he is said to have stolen identities, facilitated the drug trade and helped launder criminal proceeds from syndicates around the world.”
Exchanges like this are not only illegal, but also a breeding ground for stolen identity refund fraud schemes and other types of tax fraud. When there is no regulation and criminals are not controlled, this scenario is all too common. The shutdown of this major virtual currency exchange should send a strong message to cybercriminals and other unregulated exchanges around the world.”
Featured image: Shutterstock/FlashMovie/David Sandron
Source: Crypto News Deutsch