x

Society

Greek High Court to Rule on Russian Bitcoin Suspect Dec 13

December 6, 2017

ATHENS (AP) — Russian cybercrime suspect Alexander Vinnik, who is wanted in the United States on charges of laundering billions of dollars’ worth of the virtual currency bitcoin, appeared Wednesday before Greece’s Supreme Court for a hearing into his extradition to the U.S.

Vinnik is the subject of a judicial tug-of-war between the U.S. and Russia, which is also seeking his extradition on lesser charges.

Court officials said a decision on the U.S. request would be announced on Dec. 13. If it decides in favor of extradition to the U.S., Greece’s justice minister will have the final word on where the suspect will be sent. Lower courts in Greece have approved both extradition requests.

Vinnik is fighting his extradition to the United States, but not to Russia.

The U.S. is accusing Vinnik of laundering $4 billion worth of bitcoins through BTC-e, one of the world’s largest digital currency exchanges, which he allegedly operated.

Russia, meanwhile, wants him back to face charges related to a 667,000-ruble ($11,500) fraud.

On Wednesday, Vinnik repeated arguments made earlier, maintaining that he was the operator and not owner of the trading platforms.

The court heard testimony from two Russian businessmen and an expert who formerly headed the Greek Police’s cybercrime division.

Vinnik’s lawyers described the arguments made in the U.S. request as vague and failing to fully comply with procedure.

“We presented our legal arguments, which in our view should lead the Supreme Court to reject the extradition request,” lawyer Alexandros Lykourezos, heading Vinnik’s defense team, told the AP.

The 37-year-old was arrested on a U.S. request in July while on holiday with his family in the Halkidiki area of northern Greece, which is popular with Russian tourists.

The U.S. Justice Department says Vinnik has been indicted by a grand jury in the Northern District of California on charges including money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions. The charges carry maximum sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

__
FANIS KARABATSAKIS, Associated Press

Elena Becatoros in Athens contributed to this report.

RELATED

ATHENS - On the one-year grim anniversary of a head-on train crash just outside a tunnel in central Greece, which killed 57 people, promises made in the immediate aftermath to add long-delayed safety measures haven’t been met.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

NYC Officials Shutter Furniture Store Illegally Converted to House More than 40 Migrants

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City furniture store that had been illegally converted into sleeping quarters for more than 40 migrants has been shut down by city officials.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to decide whether former President Donald Trump can be prosecuted on charges he interfered with the 2020 election and set a course for a quick resolution.

ATHENS - On the one-year grim anniversary of a head-on train crash just outside a tunnel in central Greece, which killed 57 people, promises made in the immediate aftermath to add long-delayed safety measures haven’t been met.

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans have blocked legislation that would protect access to in vitro fertilization, objecting to a vote on the issue Wednesday even after widespread backlash to a recent ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court that threatens the practice.

KUNA, Idaho  — Idaho halted the execution of serial killer Thomas Eugene Creech on Wednesday after medical team members repeatedly failed to find a vein where they could establish an intravenous line to carry out the lethal injection.