The French court will consider the case of Russian Alexander Vinnik, who was arrested in Greece in the summer of 2017 and extradited to France.
According to AP, the Court of Appeal of the French capital is starting hearings in Vinnik’s case on the laundering of billions of euros. In December last year, the Russian was sentenced to 5 years in prison. However, his guilt in using Locky for cyberattacks and extortion remained unproven. Vinnik’s lawyer Frederic Belo believes that his client should be fully acquitted:
“We will insist that Alexander was not involved in money laundering and did not intend to launder the funds obtained as a result of the operation of the Locky program, he was never aware of this.”
The prosecutor’s office also appealed the verdict; its arguments will be considered by the Court of Appeal simultaneously with the arguments of the defense. Last year, when considering the case, the prosecutor’s office demanded 10 years in prison for Vinnik and categorically disagrees with his partial acquittal.
Vinnik was detained in Greece, where he came on vacation in the summer of 2017, at the request of the United States. There he is accused of various cryptocurrency fraud. According to the investigation, the Russian founded the BTC-e online exchange, with the help of which he was able to legalize about $ 4 billion.
After his arrest, the decision to imprison Vinnik was also made by the Russian capital’s court in the case of disrupting the supply of equipment to a private company. After that, Moscow demanded to extradite Vinnik to Russia. The following year, Russia again requested his extradition, this time in a cybercrime and money-laundering case. The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office announced that it had received a statement from Vinnik with a confessionary testimony.
France also sought to extradite Vinnik with equal persistence. There, along with money laundering through BTC-e, he was charged with involvement in the distribution of the Locky ransomware program. As a result, Greece decided to hand over the detainee to France.
During the investigation, carried out by French law enforcement officers, it was established that millions of dollars were transferred to Vinnik Vamnedam’s account on the BTC-e exchange. They were translated for restoring access to files that were encrypted by the Locky ransomware. Vinnik is called the co-founder of the exchange, and Alexei Bilyuchenko, who testified in Russia, is his partner. According to the BBC, after the arrest of Vinnik and the suspension of the work of BTC-e, Bilyuchenko was going to transfer the money received from the users of the exchange “to the fund of the FSB of Russia.”
Vinnik insisted that he only advised the administrators of the BTC-e exchange and was in no way connected with its owners. The defense considers the case politically motivated and has repeatedly stated that Vinnik was the victim of a confrontation between Russia and the United States.