Temporary win for Russian Federation in bid for bitcoin suspect


A tug-of-war between the U.S. and Russia over the extradition of a Russian national suspected of bitcoin-related fraud went into a new round on Wednesday when a Greek court backed Russia's claim.

Last week, Thessaloniki judges ruled that he could be handed over to the United States, but they have now also ruled the Russian extradition request admissible.

Russia on Wednesday won the latest round in a judicial tug-of-war with the US over who should try a Russian cybercrime suspect arrested during a holiday in Greece. That decision came a week after the same court upheld a request from Washington for the extradition of Vinnik over the bitcoin allegations.

The latest ruling extends a legal tug-of-war between Russian Federation and the United States over Vinnik, 37, who was arrested in July during a holiday in Greece following a USA request.

Once the supreme court appeal is complete, Greece's minister of justice will ultimately decide which extradition to accept. Russia has complained repeatedly about the detention of Russian citizens while traveling overseas, accusing US officials of "kidnapping" them.

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The U.S. Justice Department says that Vinnik has been indicted by a grand jury in the Northern District of California, on charges including money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions.

Vinnik denies all allegations but is reportedly willing to be tried in Russian Federation on lesser fraud charges. Vinnik, 38, appealed against that ruling to the Supreme Court. However, if the Supreme Court upholds the ruling in favor of Vinnik's extradition to the U.S. it will come down to Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis to decide.

Vinnik was indicted by a US grand jury in July on an array of charges that include money laundering, identity theft, and facilitating drug trafficking.

The charges, if proved in court, carry maximum sentences of up to 20 years in prison.