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According to Vinnik’s lawyer Zoe Konstantopoulou, Alexander is at the hospital in Paris and the French authorities will try to question him tonight.
Russian citizen Alexander Vinnik accused of laundering Bitcoin via the BTC-e exchange has been extradited to France. Currently, he is at the Hotel-Dieu hospital in Paris. As his lawyer Zoe Konstantopoulou has said, she learned Alexander Vinnik extradited to France from a French colleague. The Greek authorities meanwhile have refused to provide any information, saying they ‘are unaware of that’.
The French authorities have not yet allowed Konstantopoulou’s French colleague to talk to Vinnik. As the lawyer has said, they will probably try to question him tonight. But she has already sent a request to postpone the hearing for tomorrow.
Konstantopoulou wrote in a Facebook post:
“Alexander is currently at the Hotel-Dieu hospital in Paris, as I was informed by my French colleague, while the Greek authorities evade providing information and pretend be unaware of anything. She hasn’t been allowed to see him yet and they will try to question him tonight, exhausted and without communication or information! I already sent a request to postpone his hearing for tomorrow. If this is not the full elimination of the rule of law, then what is it?”
Earlier, the Supreme Administrative Court of Greece dismissed the defense team’s objection against the decision to extradite Vinnik. France will be the first to consider his case and pronounce the verdict. After that, Vinnik will go back to Greece for a similar procedure. Later, he will go to the USA, then the extradition to Russia follows. After learning about this decision, Vinnik went on a hunger strike, the third one during the 30 months of his imprisoning.
At the moment, Russian diplomats in Paris are in contact with Zoe Konstantopoulou.
Alexander Vinnik’s Case
In July 2017, the United States accused Alexander Vinnik, owner of the BTC-e exchange, of laundering Bitcoin worth $4.9 billion through illegal activities. The authorities arrested the Russian national in Greece, where he was on holiday with his family. Russia, the U.S., and France were all seeking his extradition. In July 2019, the U.S. government filed a $100 million lawsuit against BTC-e Vinnik. On December 19, 2019, Greek Justice Minister Konstantinos Tsiaras decided to extradite Vinnik first to France and then the United States and Russia.
In response, Vinnik’s attorneys filed several complaints with the Council of State — the Supreme Administrative Court of Greece, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which handles cases related to illegal detention.
Zoe Konstantopoulou has also pointed out that Vinnik is on the gate, his condition is in question. She wrote:
“In every way the government is trying to scare him, terrorize him, in a moment of great agony, while his health has worsened […] A man 30 months imprisoned, without charge, on the limits of existence, who fights with his only weapons — his body and life — is also suffering from a psychological war.”
During the previous hearings, Vinnik insisted on just performing his technical duties at BTC-e.
The United States and Russia are still waiting for Vinnik’s extradition. Currently, it is impossible to say how it all will end, as this legal saga is becoming more complicated.