Accused Crypto Launderer Lawyer Vinnik Calls Russia to Talk to US Prisoner – Bitcoin News

A lawyer for Russian IT specialist Alexander Vinnik has urged the government in Moscow to discuss a possible prisoner exchange with the United States after he was recently extradited. They are convinced that only the return of the French lawyer to his homeland can save Vinnik, who is in solitary confinement in France and in failing health in Greece.

Vinnik’s lawyer asked the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to start negotiations with Washington

One of the lawyers of Alexander Vinnik, the operator of BTC-E, accused of embezzling more than $4 billion through the now defunct cryptocurrency exchange, urged the Russian authorities to negotiate with Washington by adding a client to a possible prisoner swap agreement.

Frédéric Belot, a member of Vinnytsia’s defense team in French courts, made the call in a letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Reuters reported on Monday after seeing the correspondence.

“The only thing that can save Alexander now is for the Russian Federation to enter into negotiations with the US authorities in the framework of the exchange of prisoners between the mentioned countries,” Belot emphasized in an email sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow. . The department declined to comment.

Accused Crypto Launderer Lawyer Vinnik Prisoner Calls Russia to Talk to US
Alexander Vinnik

The move comes as US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in July that Moscow had made “significant offers” to free US citizens currently held in Russia. Among them are basketball star Brittany Greener and ex-Marine Paul Whelan.

Alexander Vinnik was arrested on a US warrant in 2017 and arrived in the Greek city of Thessaloniki on summer vacation with his family. After reviewing several extradition requests, including one from Russia, Greek authorities decided to extradite him to France after serving a five-year prison sentence for money laundering.

French authorities returned the Russian to Greece, which quickly transferred him to the United States in early August. He then appeared in federal court in San Francisco and was reportedly denied bail. He had previously warned that his extradition to the US would make him prisoner of tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Vinnik says he suffers from memory loss from long isolation in a French prison.

Frederik Belot emphasized that Alexander Vinnik has repeatedly denied and continues to deny all the charges against him. After being held in solitary confinement in France, the lawyer revealed that the 43-year-old Russian was suffering from partial memory loss due to isolation anxiety caused by psychiatrists.

The US Department of Justice describes the cryptocurrency exchange owned and operated by Vinnik, BTC-e, as a “massive cybercrime and online money laundering operation” that provides services to criminal actors. He faces up to 55 years in prison on the current charges. “This word of Alexander is the same as life,” Bellot warned.

Reuters has repeatedly said Russia is engaging in “quiet diplomacy” with the US over the prisoner swap. Another Russian citizen recently extradited to the US, Denis Dubnikov, 29, the founder of coin-exchange platforms Coyote Crypto and Egg Exchange, is accused of making ransomware payments in cryptocurrency on behalf of cybercriminals targeting US hospitals.

Tags in this story

Alexander Vinnik, Bellot, BTC-E, Crypto, Crypto Exchange, Cryptocurrency, Cryptocurrency, Exchange, Frederic Bellot, Lavrov, Lawyer, Money Laundering, Prison, Prisoner, Prisoner Swap, Prisoner Swap, Russia, Russian, Sergey Lavrov , Vinnik

Do you think Russia and the US will reach an agreement to exchange prisoners? Tell us in the comments section below.

Lubomir Tasev

Lubomir Tasev is a tech-savvy Eastern European journalist who likes Hitchens’ quote, “Being a writer is not what I do, but what I am.” Apart from crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.

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