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BTC-e Operator Who Used Bitcoin to Launder $4B Extradited to U.S. to Face Charges

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Friday that Alexander Vinnik, a 42-year-old Russian, has been extradited from Greece to the United States to face multiple charges of money laundering and operating an illegal cryptocurrency exchange.

Vinnik first ran into legal trouble with the Department of Justice in 2017 for allegedly operating the now-defunct BTC-e cryptocurrency exchange in the US without proper permission and helping criminals launder at least $4 billion through Bitcoin.

extradition struggle

In the same year, he was arrested in Greece at the request of the US government. After his arrest, Vinnik’s assets, valued at $90 million, were confiscation by the police in New Zealand. At the time, authorities indicated that BTC-e does not have anti-money laundering policies in place, which facilitates a range of cybercrime, including illegal proceeds laundering, ransomware attacks, fraud, theft and drug crimes.

In January 2020, the 42-year-old man at the time was delivered To France after many years of struggle for extradition between Russia, France and the United States.

After his extradition to France, Vinnik denied the allegations and requested that he be transferred to Russia, where he faces lower criminal charges involving about $11,000. A judge in Paris rejected his application, ruling that he will face charges in France for defrauding at least 100 people through ransomware between 2016 and 2018.

In December 2020, French prosecutors sentenced Fink to five years in prison for money laundering. However, he was acquitted of the initial claim that he defrauded people through ransomware.

The United States extradites Vinic from Greece

On Thursday, the criminal was returned to Greece and extradited to the United States, and now faces 21 charges, including running an unlicensed money services business, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering and illegal monetary transactions.

“After more than five years of litigation, Russian citizen Alexander Vinnik was extradited to the United States yesterday to be responsible for operating BTC-e, a criminal cryptocurrency exchange that has laundered over $4 billion in criminal proceeds, He said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Paulette Jr. from the Criminal Division of the Ministry of Justice.

The FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, and the CIA’s Criminal Investigation Division are still investigating the case. Vinick risks spending up to 50 years in a US prison if found guilty.

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