Russian citizen Alexander Vinnik was accused by the US government of money laundering and operating an “unlicensed monetary service”. He was arrested in Greece in July during a vacation with his wife and two children following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and is currently being held there on charges until he can be extradited to the U.S.
The US authorities blame Vinnik for laundering $4 billion through BTC-e owned by himself and is also charged with the theft of the Japanese stock exchange Mt.Gox means in the amount of 850 thousand BTC in 2011-2013.
In the latest interview with Russia Today, Alexander Vinnik claimed his total innocence and refused any possibility of his voluntary extradition.
“Yes, I worked for BTC-e and did my job, and it’s wrongful to accuse me of it. I found out about this accusation about a month after my arrest. My lawyer told me about it. I was taken in charge in Greece right on the beach, they conducted a search in my hotel room and three days later transferred me to Saloniki prison,” – explained Alexander. “Firstly, I haven’t committed anything illegal and secondly, I don’t understand what concern do the US authorities have with me and what legal right allows them to judge Russian citizen.”
Alexander Vinnik claims he has never had any relations with the United Stated and, what is more, he has never even been their, to say nothing of running a business in America.
On July 25, BTC-e was raided and shut down by the US authorities, but soon after that it came back online with a promise to return user funds. The BTC-e group refused any possibility of Vinnik’s implication to the exchange.
As in words of Alexandra Vinnik, the arrested BTC-e operator’s wife, the US authorities are simply interested in her husband’s intellect: “He didn’t realize how interesting he could be to a state, especially one like the US.” Alexandra is convinced the US was keen to get him “because of his knowledge, because of his intellectual abilities above all.” In addition, she stated that the detained Russian had never owned the BTC-e exchange.
According to Vinnik’s wife, the accusation is based on a statement that BTC-e operated without a license and evaded control to prevent money laundering. The BTC-e managers allegedly knew they were creating a platform for illegal purposes. “By this way of thinking you could make the manufacturers of frying pans guilty because wives hit their husbands with them. It’s the same thing,” – she says.
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