Greek court clears United States extradition of Russian bitcoin fraud suspect

Greek court rules for extradition of Russian hacker Vinnik to USA

Worldwide law enforcement officials seized BTC-e's domain in July, and Vinnik was arrested soon after while vacationing with his family in Greece. The US authorities accuse Vinnik of laundering $4 billion through the BTC-e website he had created, as well as of hacking Mt.Gox, the Japanese bitcoin exchange. According to Vinnik's lawyers, they would have to appeal to the Supreme Court of Greece, Areopagus.

Earlier in the day, a Greek court in Thessaloniki ruled to satisfy a United States request for the extradition of Vinnik on charges of money laundering. Reuters reports that a Greek court today cleared him to be extradited to the U.S., where he could face up to 55 years in prison.

Russia comes out against the extradition of Russian nationals to foreign states, including the US, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov told journalists on Wednesday in comments on the decision to extradite Russians Vinnik and Levashov to the US.

Russia's bid to have Vinnik extradited back home has yet to come before a court.

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"We have faith in the Greek justice system and a long road ahead of us", the Reuters news agency quotes Xanthippi Moisidou, one of Vinnik's lawyers, as saying. A three-member panel of judges in Thessaloniki, Greece, similarly decided Wednesday that Mr. Vinnik may be extradited as well, according to The Associated Press.

U.S. prosecutors accuse Vinnik of running BTC-e, a digital currency exchange they say was used to launder huge amounts of dirty money for organised criminal groups.

Vinnik allegedly committed these crimes while operating bitcoin exchange BTC-e, although he claims he was just a technician and the exchange denies he was ever employed by the company.

"Through his actions, it is alleged that he stole identities, facilitated drug trafficking, and helped to launder criminal proceeds from syndicates around the world", said IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Don Fort in the DOJ statement.

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