French Judge Orders Trial of Alleged BTC-e Operator Alexander Vinnik

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Alexander Vinnik being escorted to the Supreme Court in Greece in 2017 (Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock)

A Paris judge has officially ordered the trial of alleged BTC-e operator Alexander Vinnik to begin.

  • In a report from the Moscow Times on Monday citing AFP, Vinnik’s lawyer and others said he will face charges of defrauding more than 100 people in six French cities from 2016 to 2018.
  • Vinnik will also face charges of extortion, aggravated money laundering, conspiracy and harming automatic data-processing systems as the head of the now-shuttered crypto exchange BTC-e, an AFP source said.
  • Billions of dollars’ worth of bitcoin passed through BTC-e , some of which was allegedly used to launder money for criminals.
  • Law enforcement agencies moved to halt operations of the exchange in 2017.
  • Later the same year, Vinnik was detained by authorities in Greece and became the focus of a legal tug-of-war involving the governments of Russia, the U.S. and France, all of which were seeking his extradition.
  • On the day Vinnik arrived in France in late January he was immediately charged and prosecutors filed to launch the trial late last month.
  • The suspect, who maintains his innocence, had hoped to be extradited to Russia, where he would face less severe fraud charges for the amount of EUR9,500 ($11,200).
  • Vinnik is also facing 21 charges from U.S. authorities ranging from money laundering and identity theft to facilitating drug trafficking.

See also: Latvian Police Seize Crypto Worth $126K in Bust of Suspected Cybercrime Ring

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