BTC-e Operator Alexander Vinnik Has Been Extradited to the US

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BTC-e operator Alexander Vinnik has been extradited to the U.S. from Greece, Vinnik's French lawyer, Frederic Belot, confirmed to CoinDesk. CNN first reported the extradition.

A few weeks ago, U.S. authorities had called off their request to extradite the Russian national from France. However, by calling off the extradition request Vinnik could be sent to Greece and later to the U.S, his lawyer had said at the time.

At the time, Belot declined to explain the legal mechanism being used by U.S. authorities, only responding that "by withdrawing their request, the U.S. reactivated the Greece request."

In 2020, Vinnik was indicted by a California court on allegations of “computer intrusions and hacking incidents, ransomware scams, identity theft schemes, corrupt public officials and narcotics distribution rings.”

Vinnik is known as an operator of BTC-e, one of the earliest bitcoin (BTC) exchanges, which was linked to the hack of Mt. Gox, the first bitcoin exchange, which never recovered after a theft of 744,408 BTC and had to shut down in 2014.

Vinnik has always denied that he ran BTC-e, claiming he only worked at the exchange.

BTC-e, in turn, was shut down by U.S. authorities in 2017, its servers confiscated and Vinnik arrested in Greece, where he was on a beach with his family. Since then three countries have been competing to extradite Vinnik – the U.S., France and Russia – with all three presenting a different set of allegations.

France prevailed in 2020, and Vinnik was sentenced to five years in prison by a French court. The sentence was upheld last summer.

UPDATE (Aug 5, 09:32 UTC): Updates headline and lede with confirmation.