January 30, 2023

Bulgarian cryptocurrency exchange operator BTC-e has been extradited from Greece to the United States, where he faces charges of running an unlicensed financial services business and money laundering.

Russian citizen Alexander Vinnik cooperated with the management of the BTC-e exchange, which is responsible for the laundering of criminal funds of more than 4 billion dollars. The Bureau of International Affairs of the US Department of Justice and the Government of Greece made extradition from Greece possible.

Criminal activity and enforcement actions have rocked the crypto industry in recent weeks. Coinbase has been the subject of an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly selling unregistered securities, while a former employee has been charged with insider trading. Many investors have Foot A lawsuit against the exchange, seeking damages from the exchange’s offering of unregistered securities.

On August 1, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission indicted eleven civil servants for operating Forsage, a $300 million pyramid scheme and ponzi scheme.

BTC-e suffered from bad AML/KYC rules

Vinnik and co-conspirators own and operate BTC-e, an exchange that offers a high degree of anonymity that has made it a breeding ground for criminal activity, including diverting proceeds from hacks, ransomware attacks, identity theft and drug syndicates. The exchange has processed more than $4 billion during its operations. It is not registered with the US Treasury as a financial services company. It had bad anti-money laundering and KYC policies.

Being Vinnik and BTC-e Accused One count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of operating an unauthorized financial business. Separately, Fink has been charged with 17 counts of money laundering and two counts of illegal cash transactions.

Appeared in court in San Francisco on Friday, August 6, 2022.

The case is being investigated by the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation, the Homeland Security Investigations, and the CIA’s criminal investigation.

Finnick has been in the crosshairs of the authorities since 2017

Vinnik worked for Bulgaria-based BTC-e from 2011-2017 and was charged in 2017 with 21 counts and arrested by Greek authorities in July of that year at the request of the United States. He denied all charges at the time.

In 2017, FinCEN launched an investigation into BRC-e for willful violations of anti-money laundering laws and against Vinnik for his role in the violations. FinCEN level $110 million in BTC and a $12 million fine against Vinnik.

A civil matter of financial sanctions against BTC-e and Vinnik awaits judgment in the Northern California region.

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