x

Society

Greek High Court Upholds Vinnik Extradition Order to France

January 24, 2020

ATHENS — A Greek high court on Thursday rejected Russian bitcoin fraud suspect Alexander Vinnik’s final appeal against his extradition to France, ending a more than two-year legal tug-of-war between three countries seeking to put him on trial.

Vinnik’s Greek lawyer, Zoi Konstandopoulou, said her client was flown to France hours after the Council of State’s decision, citing his lawyer in France. She said he had been taken to a hospital as he was on the 35th day of a hunger strike protesting the prospect of his being extradited to France.

Greek authorities were unable to confirm lat Thursday that Vinnik had been sent to France.

Earlier, the Council of State upheld last month’s decision by Justice Minister Konstantinos Tsiaras that Vinnik should be extradited first to France, then to the U.S. and finally to his native Russia.

Vinnik, 39, was arrested in the summer of 2017 while on a family holiday in northern Greece, at the request of U.S. authorities. They accused him of laundering billions of dollars through BTC-e, one of the world’s largest digital currency exchanges, which he allegedly operated.

He denies wrongdoing and had asked to be extradited to Russia, where he faces lesser charges. Greek court officials have said France wants to put him on trial for alleged cybercrime, money laundering, membership in a criminal organization and extortion.

Vinnik has been on a hunger strike since Tsiaras’ decision just over a month ago — his second hunger strike since he was first ordered jailed in Greece pending conclusion of the exhausting and legally complex triple extradition case.

Russia’s foreign ministry and embassy in Athens strongly protested the extradition order to France. The Russian bid to put him on trial came shortly after Vinnik’s arrest on the U.S. request, while France made its own request later.

Greek courts had approved all three requests, and the final decision was taken by the justice minister.

The Council of State ruled Thursday that the minister had full authority to decide on the order of the extraditions when dealing with conflicting requests. It also noted that were Vinnik to be extradited first to Russia, Russian law would prevent his subsequent extradition to any other country.

Vinnik says says he acted as a technical consultant to the BTC-e platform and had no knowledge of any illegal activity.

RELATED

ATHENS - Greece confirmed 10,783 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, with 55 of these identified at entry points to the country, the National Public Health Organization (EODY) said on Sunday.

Top Stories

United States

JANUARY 14-17 GLENBROOK, NV – The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco 2022 Young Adult Winter Retreat ‘Citizens of the Desert: Embracing Our Role as Christian Witnesses to Our World’ takes place January 14-17, Martin Luther King weekend, at Lake Tahoe, the Galilee Camp and Conference Center, 1776 U.

Associations

CHICAGO – The Greek Women’s University Club (GWUC) celebrated the organization’s 90th anniversary and the launch of the Hellenic Revolution’s 200th anniversary with a scholarship presentation to three female students on December 29th at Jameson’s Charhouse.

Cinema

The long-awaited historical epic film My Beloved Smyrna (Σμυρνη Μου Αγαπημενη)  has arrived in Greek cinema theaters after a glamorous premiere at the Megaron - Athens Concert Hall.

Video

TNH’s Happenings of the Week by Eraklis Diamataris

The National Herald’s Happenings of the Week (Jan 8 – Jan 15) as have been reported at the print and digital editions of TNH and presented by the TNH Editor Eraklis Diamataris.