Russian Federation scores temporary win against United States on cybercrime suspect

Alexander Vinnik

Alexander Vinnik

That decision was countered by the Greek Council of Judges in Thessaloniki yesterday, when the court chose to uphold a competing extradition request from the government of Vinnik's home country, Russia.

The final decision will rest with Greece's justice minister once Vinnik, 37, has exhausted the process of appealing his extradition to the U.S.

The latest ruling extends a legal tug-of-war between Russian Federation and the United States over Vinnik, 37, who was arrested in July during a holiday in Greece following a US request.

Vinnik is one of seven Russians arrested or indicted this year on USA cybercrime charges. In Russia, Vinnik is accused of a 667,000-ruble ($11,500) fraud.

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Vinnik said Wednesday he wants to be extradited to Russia, where the government has said it should get priority over the USA because he is a Russian citizen.

Vinnik denies both sets of charges, but said he wants to be tried in Russian Federation.

Vinnik has lodged an appeal against last week's decision favouring the USA request, and that case will be heard by the Greek supreme court.

Vinnik, whose defence is run by Greek star attorney Alexandros Lykourezos, has denied the charges.

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According to reports, Vinnik is alleged to have laundered roughly $4 billion in Bitcoin, and faces charges that include 17 counts of various money crimes and illegal operation of a money service.

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

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

The charges, if proved in court, carry maximum sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

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