The Russian operator of BTC-e crypto exchange, Alexander Vinnik, will remain under arrest for his safety, following a verdict passed by the Paris court on Tuesday, according to Tass.
As Cryptoknowmics recently reported, Vinnik was covertly extradited from Greece to France to push forward investigations on the case where he was alleged to run a massive money-laundering scheme through the exchange, which affected residents in France.
As per his lawyer in Greece, Zoe Konstantopoulou, he was moved to the country by the Greek police without any prior information to her (the lawyer), saying, “It is obvious that we are talking about kidnapping, not about extradition.”
There in France, the Paris court decided that Vinnik should remain under arrest in order to satisfy future investigation and ensure his safety too. The verdict, according to Vinnik’s lawyer, Timofey Musatov, was pre-determined and supported the prosecutor.
During the five-hours court session on Vinnik’s case in Paris, only the prosecutor was allowed to speak, none of the lawyers or defendant was allowed to talk in court. Meanwhile, the Vinnik defence team has ten days to file an appeal, Musatov said.
The Start of Vinnik’s Case
Alexander Vinnik was initially arrested in Greece on the 25th of July, 2017, as requested by the United States authorities. The US claims that he laundered about four to nine billion dollars through BTC-e.
Ever since he was arrested, Vinnik has faced several court charges and challenges, including a 35-day hunger strike and insomnia. He is also wanted by the Russian authorities for money laundering and other crimes.
As reported by Tass, the Russian national, however, has suspended all charges against him and expressed readiness to set him free.
The extradition of the BTC-e operator was first hinted in December 2019 by Greek court officials. Later Vinnik’s lawyer said the top administrative court of Greece suspended the decision until it hears the further appeal.