- Alexander Vinnik, the man at the center of a two-and-a-half-year extradition tug of war, has been found guilty of money laundering in France
- The French court handed down a five-year prison sentence but acquitted him of two other charges
- Vinnik was the founder of the BTC-e cryptocurrency exchange which received thousands of stolen Mt. Gox Bitcoin
Alexander Vinnik, the founder of the BTC-e exchange that was thought to have laundered thousands of stolen Mt. Gox Bitcoin, has been sentenced to five years in prison by a French court for money laundering. Vinnik was acquitted of charges of extortion and association with a criminal enterprise, although he may yet face these charges in Russia or the U.S. He was the subject of a legal tug of war for two and a half years following his arrest in 2017, with France eventually winning the right to try him first.
Vinnik a Wanted Man
Vinnik was wanted by America, France, and Russia following his arrest in Greece in 2017 on a US arrest warrant. Vinnik was wanted by the three countries on charges connected to alleged laundering of more than $4 billion worth of cryptocurrency for a variety of criminal enterprises, with each desperate to secure his extradition.
Following US and Russian extradition requests being granted and then overturned, alongside a foiled poisoning plot and a self-imposed hunger strike, the French authorities eventually got their man, receiving Vinnik on January 30 this year.
Lawyers Intend to Appeal
Following a trial in Paris that was delayed because of the coronavirus, Vinnik was on Monday found guilty of money laundering and sentenced to five years in prison and a €100,000 ($121,375) fine. However, he was acquitted of extortion and association with a criminal enterprise, and his lawyers have said he intends to appeal the verdict.
Whether he serves time or walks free, Vinnik will almost certainly face a trip to the U.S. or Russia once the French legal system is finished with him, where he will face very similar charges all over again.