French court sentenced BTC-e operator Alexander Vinnik to 5 years in prison

The Paris Court of Appeal upheld the five-year imprisonment of BTC-e operator Alexander Vinnik.

The court upheld a Sentences and imprisonment in December 2020, It was discovered that Vinnik/BTC-e had carried out money laundering activities as part of an organized criminal group and provided false information about the source of the proceeds.

The Paris court rejected several requests from Vinnik’s defense team, including a request to check a copy of the evidence provided by the FBI. The court also waived Vinnik’s 100,000 euro fine, which initially accompanied the December judgment.

Vinnik was initially accused of using ransomware to deceive nearly 200 people, but the court cleared his allegations of malware attacks in December. According to reports from the Russian state news media, the prosecutors have asked for a reduction in fines and expressed doubts whether he can pay the victims of his crimes. once again.

The defense team plans to file a cassation appeal within five days as required by French law.

The Russian computer expert was originally detained in July 2017 while on vacation in Greece at the request of the United States. The United States accused him of laundering more than $4 billion while operating the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e.

January 2020, Vinnick was extradited to France, He was sentenced to five years in prison in December. Vinnick’s lawyer, Frédéric Bélot, worried that the Greek authorities might want him to return to Greece after his sentence and extradited him to the United States on similar charges.

Russia also filed an extradition request on humanitarian grounds. After Vinnick went on a hunger strike in Greece in November 2018, Russian human rights monitor Tatiana Moskova sought the assistance of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to ensure that Vinnick returned to Russia. At that time, she emphasized that the health of Vinnik and his wife, who were diagnosed with brain cancer, was deteriorating.

related: As new accusations continue to emerge, BTC-e’s Vinnik case has been delayed

However, it has Report Russia’s extradition request may be motivated to prevent sensitive data related to its intelligence operations from falling into the hands of foreign opponents. Some analysts believe that Russian intelligence agencies may have used BTC-e to obtain Bitcoin for confidential operations.

If extradited, Vinnik will face minor charges of “fraud in the field of computer information” in Russia.