France extradited Russian national Alexander Vinnik to Greece in order for Greek authorities to extradite him to the US, based on an arrest warrant issued by a San Francisco court.
According to his French lawyer, Frederic Belot, Vinnik has just been sent to Greece. Belot believes that Greece will soon extradite the Russian to the United States.
According to the decision of the Investigating Chamber of the Paris Court of Appeal, Vinnik should have been extradited to Greece.
“However, he was not released,” the lawyer said, adding that the US move to formally withdraw the extradition request was a distraction ploy aimed at speeding up the extradition process.
The chronicle of the case
Vinnik, a Russian IT specialist, was arrested in Greece in 2017 at the request of the US on money laundering charges through the now defunct BTC-e crypto exchange.
France also accuses him of money laundering and extortion.
According to French prosecutors, Vinnik created the Locky software to cause damage to 200 individuals and businesses in France between 2016 and 2018.
In December 2019, Greek Justice Minister Konstantinos Tsiaras decided to extradite Vinnik first to France, then to the United States and finally to Russia.
In December 2020, a Paris court sentenced him to five years in prison and a fine of more than 100,000 euros.
Vinnik himself told Greece that he would agree to return home and appear before a Russian court.
In Russia, he is accused of embezzling over 600,000 rubles and fraud worth 750,000 million rubles.
In late 2020, the Russian embassy in Greece had indicated that it would do whatever is necessary to defend the legal rights of Russian citizen Alexander Vinnik.
In the meantime, Alexander Vinnik’s defence lawyers do not consider the decision regarding his extradition to the US to be final and intend to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights requesting that he not be extradited.
In fact, the then head of Greece’s Cybercrime Department, Mr. Manolis Sfakianakis, had not found any evidence of a criminal act having been committed.
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