Bitcoin Launderer Alexander Vinnik Begins Hunger Strike Amidst Delayed Extradition

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by Bhushan Akolkar · 2 min read
Bitcoin Launderer Alexander Vinnik Begins Hunger Strike Amidst Delayed Extradition
Photo: Pavlos Giorkas / Flickr

Vinnik’s lawyer claimed that the decision to hunger strike came amidst the allegedly illegal actions actions on part of Greek and French authorities.

Alleged Bitcoin launderer and operator of the now-defunct Bitcoin exchange BTC-e, Alexander Vinnik, has announced to start hunger strike since Monday, Nov. 26. The news comes amidst the latest developments wherein the Supreme Court of Greece has postponed Vinnik’s extradition.

Alexander Vinnik – a High-Profile Bitcoin Launderer

Alexander Vinnik is accused of laundering BTC worth $4.9 billion through illegal activities like the hack of Mt. Gox exchange in 2014. As a result, Vinnik was arrested last year during his holiday in Greece. Vinnik’s home country Russia, along with the U.S. and France are seeking his extradition.

Last year, the Supreme Court of Greece announced Vinnik’s extradition to the U.S. However, another court interfered ruling his extradition to Russia instead. Things further complicated in June 2018 when a French court issued a European arrest warrant for Vinnik. This forced the Greek Supreme Court to push the hearing on November 19. However, the ruling is now to take place on November 29.

Russian new publication TASS reported that Vinnik’s legal team has raised an objection on the postponing of hearing. Timofev Musatov said that Vinnik will start a hunger strike in repose to what he describes as illegal actions on the part of Greek and French authorities.

Musatov also says that the decision comes amidst the realization Vinnik most likely won’t get proper defense access either in Greece or France. He says that this is evident with the possibility that the European warrant is likely to expire.

Quoting Musatov, TASS wrote:

“The Greek Supreme Court’s judge completely ignores the work of lawyers who cannot even file a petition. She does not give them an opportunity to speak or do it. After observing this situation, Alexander realized that he would either get a fair trial or die. If there is no fair trial, he will inevitably be deported to the United States through France, where he will get something close to a life sentence, which equals death.”

Musatov further stated that the Greek lawyer openly accepting that “that the court would not treat any citizen of an EU member country or Greece as it treats Alexander just because he is a Russian national.”

During the year-long hearings, Vinnik consistently maintains his position of just performing his technical duties at BTC-e. It remains unclear under which circumstances Vinnik’s hunger strike can end.

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