Russia’s extradition request filed with the French Authorities refused as the French Authorities denied to hand over Russian Bitcoin fraudster. Alexander Vinnik, who is serving his sentence in France. Vinnik, who has already served four years in prison, is now going after holding another hunger strike though his health conditions are severe, said the Russian Ombudsman.
Alexander Vinnik, a Russian national and IT specialist, was a known fraudster who cheated on people by operating a fake crypto exchange. Vinnik was apprehended by the authorities in France over the allegations of crypto fraud. It was noticed by the authorities that Vinnik cheated on people by established a bogus crypto exchange platform by the name “BTC-e”. Upon his arrest, he was produced before the trial and the trial thereafter sentenced him to prison for five years. In addition, a fine of 100,000 Euros was also imposed upon Vinnik which was to be recovered for the settlement of recovery claims.
As of now, Vinnik has already served four years in prison but during this time he had held several hunger strikes. But now his health conditions have been deteriorating gradually which may lead to his death. Weary of his health conditions, Russian Authorities have contacted the authorities in France and had filed his extradition request. According to the HR Commission of Russia, Vinnik is not in good health. The Commissioner said that Vinnik is planning to hold another hunger strike and this time, because of his health conditions, his life is in danger. It was, therefore, requested to hand him over to the authorities in Russia, which will continue his trial.
However, it was reported recently that Russia’s official request for extradition has been turned down by French Authorities on 20th May 2021.
Vinnik has been facing a long trial in the Paris Correctional Court, which was carried out at the request of the US Authorities. Last year, the Court in Paris came to the conclusion that he was guilty of charges of money laundering. However, the Court canceled the charges of money extortion which too were leveled against him. The Court held that Vinnik was in fact the person who was behind the notorious ransomware known as “Locky”.
Vinnik’s arrest came in 2017 when he was visiting Greece and was on a family vacation. His warrants of arrests were issued by the authorities in the US on the allegations of his involvement in plundering US$ 9 Billion. The US Authorities claimed that Vinnik was the operator of fraudulent firm BTC-e, looted the public money, and then laundered the same.
Upon his arrest in Greece, Vinnik was detained therein for two and a half years. However, till that time, no charges of any crimes as alleged were filed before the authorities, yet he was detained without being proven guilty. Vinnik felt that he was denied his legal rights to due process and fair trial and as a protest, he had held a hunger strike. The first strike he held lasted for more than 90 days within which he hadn’t eaten anything.
He was first kept in Greece and then handed over to the authorities in France for trial. After the trial in France is concluded, he will then be handed over to the Authorities in the US and then to Russia.
Russian Authorities are concerned that Vinnik is about to resort to another hunger strike but this time his health is in bad shape.
Though Vinnik’s case attracted international attention, yet he continues to fight for his legal rights single-handedly.