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Greek court backs extradition of BTC-e's alleged owner to US

05 October 2017

USA prosecutors are reportedly seeking a prison sentence of more than 50 year for Levashov.

Alexander Vinnik, who was arrested in northern Greece at the end of July while on holiday, is suspected of using digital currency exchanges to launder billions of dollars for major organised crime groups involved in activities ranging from hacking to drug trafficking. He refused voluntary extradition to the USA, maintaining that, as a Russian citizen, he should be tried by a Russian court.

Alexander Vinnik, the alleged mastermind of a $4 billion bitcoin laundering ring, is one of seven Russians arrested or indicted worldwide this year on USA cybercrime charges.

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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.

Vinnik denies the charges against him, telling the court he served as a consultant rather than an operator for BTC-e, a bitcoin exchange, Reuters reports. In the United States, Vinnik faces up to 55 years in prison.

USA intelligence officials concluded in January that Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized Kremlin-sponsored operatives including hackers and propagandists to interfere in the 2016 White House race in order to hurt the campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, spurring a tit-for-tat row that has resulted in dozens of diplomats being expelled from either country.

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

Spain's high court rejected his claim Tuesday, stating: "Nothing has been proven with respect to the allegations about political motivation and neither ... has the potential infringement of the accused's right to life or of his physical integrity", Reuters reported.

Russian Federation has repeatedly denied allegations that it meddled in the race.

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Greek court backs extradition of BTC-e's alleged owner to US