Greek court clears US extradition of Russian bitcoin fraud suspect

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The court has not yet set a date for Vinnik's hearing about his request to be extradited to Russian Federation on lesser fraud charges, according to the report.

A Thessaloniki court on Wednesday approved a request by United States authorities for the extradition of a Russian man suspected of using a bitcoin exchange to launder billions of dollars but the suspect appealed to the Supreme Court. Vinnik is allowed to appeal the decision to the Greek Supreme Court, and he is expected to do so this week.

A panel of three judges today granted the United States extradition request, which clears the way for Vinnik to be flown to America to face charges that could see him imprisoned for 55 years.

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Since his arrest in a beachside village in northern Greece in late July, Moscow has also requested he be returned home, as it has previously done with other nationals wanted by the U.S.

At least seven Russian nationals have been arrested or indicted worldwide this year in connection with US cybercrime charges, Reuters reported, anything but alleviating tensions between former Cold War foes. Mr. Vinnik, meanwhile, is accused of masterminding a $4 million money-laundering ring involving bitcoin, a popular form of digital cryptocurrency. As if the web of activity wasn't large enough already, American authorities have also tied Vinnik to the failure of Japanese bitcoin exchange MtGox.

Alexander Vinnik, a 38 year old Russian man (C) suspected of running a money laundering operation using bitcoin, is escorted by a police officer to a court in Thessaloniki, Greece, October 4, 2017. Instead, Vinnik claims he was simply a technical consultant and BTC-e was one of his clients. No date has been set for that. "We hope and expect a better outcome", said defense lead Alexandros Lykourezos.

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