Russian Federation scores temporary win against USA on cybercrime suspect

A tug-of-war between the U.S. and Russia over the extradition of a Russian national suspected of bitcoin-related fraud went into a new round on Wednesday when a Greek court backed Russia's claim. "He expressed his opinion that he wants to be extradited". By comparison, in the United States, Vinnik would face up to 55 years behind bars. He has appealed his USA extradition, and Greece's Supreme Court is expected to rule on that appeal in coming weeks.

"Until this procedure is over, Alexander will stay in Greece", he added.

Following a US request, Vinnik was arrested in July while on holiday with his family in the Halkidiki area of northern Greece, which is popular with Russian tourists.

According to United States authorities, Vinnik "stole identities, facilitated drug trafficking, and helped to launder criminal proceeds from syndicates around the world".

On Wednesday, a different panel of judges accepted a Russian extradition request, which followed the initial USA one. In his home country, a criminal investigation into large-scale fraud has been initiated.

He has told Greek judges that he was a technical consultant to BTC-e and not its operator.

On July 26, 2017, the day after Vinnik's arrest, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) levied a $110 million fine against BTC-e for violations of American anti-money laundering (AML) laws.

At present, Vinnik's lawyers are appealing to the Greek Supreme Court, claiming that there are "insufficient indications, let alone evidence" against the accused.

The supreme court hearing is expected within the next three weeks, Lykourezos said.

Nikos Paraskevopoulos, the Greek Minister of Justice, will have the final word on the competing extradition cases, and may play a critical role in determining where Vinnik stands trial.

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