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$4 Billion Bitcoin Laundering Suspect Charged in France


French authorities have charged former operator of crypto exchange BTC-e and Russian national Alexander Vinnik.

300,000 Bitcoins

Alexander Vinnik, a Russian citizen, is believed to be involved in the hack of Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox since the 300,000 BTC stolen there were allegedly not only laundered through BTC-e but were also on his personal wallet. Based on those suspicions, the Mt. Gox trustee contacted the U.S. Department of Justice and requested information about him.

Vinnik was extradited to France last Thursday, and the authorities have charged him with aggravated money laundering, extortion, conspiracy, as well as harming data-processing systems.

According to Zoi Konstantopoulou, one of his lawyers, Vinnik’s understanding of modern technology is seen as a threat to the international banking system. The team also filed a complaint, claiming that Vinnik was mistreated and that the very length of his detention is inhumane. The investigation is still on-going.

Vinnik, who has been on a hunger strike for 40 days to protest his detention, is now in a hospital in France as the investigation continues there, his lawyers said.

According to Konstantopoulou, Greek authorities have decided that Vinnik will stay in France until the case against him is completed. He would then be sent back to Greece before being extradited to the U.S. Once the U.S. case is over, Vinnik would be sent to Russia, she said.

Meddling with Politics?

Vinnik’s allegations were notable as he was accused of supervising BTC-e, a crypto exchange that allegedly helped numerous criminals move illegal money anonymously. Furthermore, the exchange is also said to be tied to the Russian military intelligence hacking unit, which is also connected to manipulations of Democrats’ emails during the 2016 US elections

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