Russia hopes Greece’s decision on Russian national Vinnik’s case will reckon with his interests

TASS Russian News Agency | Jan 23, 2020 at 3:24 PM

MOSCOW, January 23. /TASS/. Moscow hopes Greece's legal decision on the case of Russian bitcoin suspect Alexander Vinnik will take into account his legal interests, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

"We hope that the legal decision [on Vinnik's case] will take into account legal interests of our compatriot," she said, adding that the Russian embassy in Athens is in touch with Vinnik, his family and attorneys. "It also maintains contact with Greece's relevant agencies," she noted.

Vinnik, a Russian IT specialist, was detained while vacationing in Greece on July 25, 2017 at the United States' request, where he is accused of laundering four to nine billion US dollars through a no longer existent Internet exchange of cryptocurrencies BTC-e. The Thessaloniki court of appeals and the Greek Supreme Court ruled Vinnik be extradited to the United States and France. Russia is also seeking his extradition and has a corresponding verdict of the Greek Supreme Court. Vinnik denied Washington's and Paris' charges and agreed to be extradited to Russia.

In December, 2019, Greek Justice Minister Konstantinos Tsiaras delivered a decision to extradite Vinnik to France, the United States and Russia. It means that Vinnik is to be extradited first to France to consider his case and pronounce the verdict. After that, he is to be taken back to Greece to be later extradited to the United States for a similar procedure, which is to be followed by extradition to Russia. The decision was challenged with the Council of State, or Greece's Supreme Administrative Court but it turned down Vinnik's appeal demanding the justice minister's decision be cancelled as violating human rights. The Council of State gave Vinnik's attorney time till midday on January 16, instead of 60 days under law, to file additional documents. The documents were ultimately provided but the Council of State on January 23 turned down the complaints and upheld the minister's decision to extradite Vinnik first to France and later to the United States.