Russia has snagged the first win in the legal battle to bring Alexander Vinnik, the man accused of laundering more than $4 billion through the BTC-e digital currency exchange he allegedly operated, back home.
On Wednesday, Russian news outlet Ria.ru reported that the Council of Judges in Thessaloniki has upheld the request to extradite Vinnik to Russia, where he will face fraud charges amounting to 667,000 rubles (US$11,500).
The Greek court previously ordered Vinnik to be extradited to the United States, where he has been indicted on charges of operating an unlicensed money service business, 17 counts of money laundering and related money crimes. Vinnik, who was arrested in a beachside village in northern Greece last July, was also suspected of facilitating hacking, fraud, identity theft, tax refund fraud, public corruption and drug trafficking activities during his time in the digital currency market, according to investigators.
Compared to Russia’s modest fines, U.S. federal authorities want Vinnik to cough up $12 million in fines, while BTC-e has been slapped with a $110 million bill for failing to meet the country’s anti-money laundering requirements.