His French lawyer told Russian media that the US authorities withdrew their request to extradite the alleged crypto-exchange operator BTC-e Alexander Vinnik from France. Vinnik’s defense, however, suspects that the move is in fact intended to speed up his delivery through Greece.
Lawyer says Washington wants Finick to stay in prison
The United States withdrew an application it made in 2020 to extradite Alexandre Vinic from France, according to Frederic Belleau, who is defending him in French courts. The Russian IT specialist has served a five-year prison sentence in the country where he was sentenced for money laundering.
Vinic’s international defense team has been trying to secure his release, but France will likely return him to Greece, where he was arrested in the summer of 2017 on a warrant from US prosecutors who accused him of laundering at least $4 billion through the notorious. Cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e.
This week, Bilott told RBC Crypto that the French prosecutor’s office had resumed the US extradition request process on July 1, 2022 in order to prevent the release of the Russian. His withdrawal is believed to be a “deceptive maneuver” aimed at ensuring Finnik remains behind bars until he is returned to Greece.
The Greek authorities had already approved an American request for his extradition before sending him to France. This means that his return to Greece could actually speed up his transfer to the United States. Bilott also noted that the next hearing in the Finnick case has been postponed from September 7 to August 3. Until then, the Russian citizen will remain in French prison.
Bilott added that during the hearings in the investigative room of the court in Paris, Vinnik’s lawyers once again reminded the French judicial authorities that the Russian Federation also sent an extradition request to France, and much earlier than the United States.
In his homeland, Alexander Vinnik was accused in 2018 of stealing 750 million rubles ($13 million at current rates). He has stated that he would like to return to Russia. He was extradited by Greek authorities to France in 2020, where he was also accused of identity theft and extortion.
Do you expect Vinnik to be extradited to the United States eventually? Share your thoughts on the issue in the comments section below.
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