Greek Court Agrees To Send Russian Cybersuspect Sought By US To Russia

Greek Court Agrees To Send Russian Cybersuspect Sought By US To Russia

A tug-of-war between the USA and Russia over the extradition of a Russian national suspected of bitcoin-related fraud went into a new round on Wednesday when a Greek court backed Russia's claim.

"When both requests from two different countries are accepted (in court), like in this case, it's up to the Justice Minister to decide which request to comply with", said Xanthippe Moissidou, one of Vinnik's lawyers.

Alexander Vinnik, who headed BTC-e, an exchange he operated for the cyber currency, was indicted by a United States court in July on 21 charges ranging from identity theft and facilitating drug trafficking to money laundering.

Vinnik is one of seven Russians arrested or indicted this year on USA cybercrime charges. In Russia, Vinnik is accused of a 667,000-ruble ($11,500) fraud.

While the US Department of Justice told us this week Vinnik's extradition is legal under the US-Greek extradition treaty, Russian Federation disagrees and believes its request should be given precedence.

Vinnik denies both sets of charges, but said he wants to be tried in Russian Federation.

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"If the Supreme Court rejects the US request, as our client wants, the minister is obliged to follow (its) decision", Moissidou said.

Vinnik has lodged an appeal against last week's decision favouring the U.S. request, and that case will be heard by the Greek supreme court.

Vinnik was indicted by a USA grand jury in July on an array of charges that include money laundering, identity theft, and facilitating drug trafficking.

Vinnik has told Greek judges that he was a technical consultant to BTC-e and not its operator.

The charges, if proved in court, carry maximum sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

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