Alexander Vinnik, former operator of crypto exchange BTC-e, have been charged by the French authorities.
Following his recent handover from Greece, Vinnik will remain in France to face his charges, lawyers told Bloomberg.
Vinnik, who is a Russian national, has been charged with bribery, money laundering and fraud, said an anonymous employee at the prosecutor’s office.
A lawyer said prosecutors may send the accused back to Greece so he can be handed over to the US after the end of his trial in France. He would finally be sent to Russia after the completion of the US prosecution.
Ariane Zimra, Vinnik’s French lawyer, said:
“There is no causal link between what Alexander Vinnik is being accused of and Alexander Vinnik.”
Vinnik went on a 40-day hunger strike to protest his arrest so he was taken to a French hospital.
lawyer Zoe Konstantopoulou said in a Facebook post that her client has been handed over to a hospital in France.
She added that Vinnik is being targeted because he is seen as a blockchain mastermind and a threat to the banking industry.
The lawyer also said the Greek authorities decided that Vinnik will remain in France until the trial against him is finished. He would then be deported to Germany, before being extradited to the US. Vinnik would be sent to Russia once the US case is over.
“Alexander’s crime is to be Russian and a person with extraordinary technological knowledge that could liberate people economically. […] The Greek Minister of Justice has in essence decided that this person is going to spend his life being extradited, judged and then re-extradited, re-judged and yet again re-extradited and re-judged.”
It is worth mentioning that the charges against Vinnik were revealed when BTC-e reportedly managed Bitcoin linked to the Russian military intelligence cyber team that the Special Counsel Robert Mueller has used in leaking Democrats ‘ emails to sway votes in the 2016 U.S. election.