A French court sentenced Alexander Vinnik to 5 years in prison, as the former operator of the BTC-e exchange so let’s read more in our latest cryptocurrency news today.
The French court upheld a 2020 verdict and prison sentence that found Vinnik and his exchange committed money laundering as a part of an organized criminal group, providing false information about the origin of the proceeds. The Parisian court dismissed the requests from Vinnik’s defense team and included asking to examine the copies of the evidence that was compiled by the FBI. The court also exempted Vinnik from a fine of $100,000 Euros that accompanied the December sentence.
Vinnik was charged with defrauding more than 200 people using ransomware but the court cleared him of all malware attack charges in December. The prosecutors then had asked for a smaller fine and expressed doubts that he will be able to play out a victim of his crimes according to the news reports. The defense team plans to file a cassation appeal in five days as it is required by French Law. The Russian computer specialist was initially detained while vacationing In Greece in 2017 as per the request from the United States. He is also accused by the US of laundering more than $4 billion while still operating the BTC-e exchange at the time.
In January 2020, Vinnik was extradited to France where he was sentenced to five years in prison and at that time, Vinnik’s lawyer Frederic Belot feared that the Greek authorities could want him returned to Greece after the sentence to face US extradition remained. Russia filed an extradition request as well citing humanitarian grounds. Vinnik then went on a hunger strike in 2018 and the Russian human rights ombudswoman Tatiana Moskalkova sought the assistance of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to vouch for Vinnik to be returned to Russia. She emphasized the worsening health of Vinnik and his wife who was also diagnosed with brain cancer.
It has been reported that the request for extradition of Russia will be motivated by preventing sensitive data regarding its intelligence operations from dropping into the hands of foreign adversaries with the analysts suggesting Russian intelligence agencies could have used BTC-e to acquire BTC for classified operations. If Vinnik gets extradited, he could be charged with fraud in the field of computer information in Russia.