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Vinnik Case: Russia Disappointed With Greece’s Decision To Hand-Over The Cybercriminal To France

December 20, 2019
Ross Peili


Vinnik Case: Russia Disappointed With Greece’s Decision To Hand-Over The Cybercriminal To France

Alexander Vinnik, also nicknamed as “Mr. Bitcoin” by Greek media outlets is said to be departing for France after the Greek Minister of Justice Konstantinos Tsiaras signed the relative request conducted by French authorities. 

According to a disappointed tweet by Russian Embassy’s account in Athens, the Greek Ministry of Justice unfairly prioritized the French request over previous analogous pull requests submitted by Russia and the United States respectively, which apparently were both denied.

Vinnik, who was arrested during a Greek family holiday back in 2017 by Greek authorities who followed an order issued after a request by the US, is said to be responsible for a large-scale money laundering operation that involved billions worth of dollars, and well..the popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC).

Read More: That Time When Piraeus Bank of Greece Had a Secret-Crash Into Ethereum (ETH)

This is not the first time crypto-related money-laundering figures are seeking shelter in Greece, with the president of the Panama-based Crypto-Capital Manuel Molina Lee being arrested just in October, when he was transferred from Greece to Poland, after a filing of the Polish National Prosecutor’s Office, cited the suspect was identified as a key figure to yet again a multi-billion-dollar scale money laundering crypto operation.

This time, Vinnik had a similar fate, and it seems that while the Greek system is generally aware of what’s going on in the crypto-sphere of the nation, they prefer to let other jurisdictions to deal with heavy-duty problems as long as they’re not affecting the Greek sovereignty. 

The New-York-based Associated Press (AP) had previously reported that Vinnik had voluntarily agreed to be handled by Russian authorities with the hope that he will face less severe charges for his cybercrimes.

Some of his conducts include financial fraud, and money laundering activities worth several hundreds of millions of dollars in taxation damages. Nevertheless, Vinnik was prioritized to the other two-requests from where it seems that his clients originated from, disregarding his nationality.  

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The Greek Ministry of Justice supported its decision to transfer Vinnik to France for the sole reason French authorities were the only with solid proof linking the suspect to cyber-criminal organizations who laundered their money through Vinnik’s Bitcoin operations. Alexander Vinnik himself denied all accusations, insisting to be handed over to Russian authorities. 

Recently the German parliament proposed a legal framework as an addition to the fourth Anti-Money-Laundering Directive (AMLD) suggesting that local banking institutions and authoritarian supervisors should be able to monitor Bitcoin-related activity in the Eurozone, they like it or not, emphasizing that the public cryptocurrency has been widely spread and used among European netizens.  

We’re following the investigation led by local Greek newspaper ekathimerini, and will update you with newer developments in the Vinnik case.