Russian Officials Request For the Extradition of Bitcoin Fraudster

According to a news report published in the Russian News outlet TASS, the Russian commissioner for human rights, Tatyana Moskalkova has requested for the extradition of Alexander Vinnik from the Greek officials.

Alexander Vinnik is a former operator of now-defunct crypto exchange BTC-e. The request has been forwarded to the Greek Justice Minister Michalis Kalogirou, citing deteriorating health condition of Vinnik and a number of pending cases against him in Russia. The letter to the Greek minister read,

“I appeal to you, Mr. Minister, to extradite Alexander Vinnik, a citizen of the Russian Federation — against whom criminal proceedings have been instituted in the Russian Federation, and who is currently in a difficult family situation and health condition — to the Russian Federation for further investigation of his case.”

Vinnik On a Hunger Strike since November 2018

Vinnik has been on a hunger strike since November 2018 and according to a report, the Russian has lost almost 30% of his body weight and is on the verge of death. The Greek government officials have written letters to the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, the Greek Health Minister Andreas Xanthos, and the Greek Ombudsman, Andreas Pottakis, requesting them to provide assistance to Vinnik following the hunger strike.

Alexander Vinnik was arrested by the Greek police on the orders of the US Department of Justice back in July 2017. Vinnik is accused of fraud and money laundering amounting to $4 billion in Bitcoin over the course of six years.

The French government has also accused Vinnik of defrauding at least 100 people in 6 French cities between 2016 and 2018. Russia and France have since then tried various courses to extradite the defendant to investigate further into the fraud allegations.

Vinnik went on a hunger strike after making claims of not being given a fair trial by the Greek authorities. Vinnik’s lawyer has claimed earlier that his client was stripped of the right to defense in France and later in Greece as well.

The Greek supreme court had earlier ruled to extradite Vinnik to the United States to face the money laundering charges. However, that ruling was postponed and the same happened when the Supreme court ordered to extradite Vinnik to France.

Now, the Russian government has sought the custody of its citizen to give him a fair trial in the country and hopes that the hunger strike ends soon.