Russian accused of Bitcoin fraud appeals extradition

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In the U.S., Vinnik could face up to 55 years in prison.

A Greek court approved the extradition of Russian citizen Alexander Vinnik to the United States where he is wanted in connection with a $4 billion bitcoin fraud, reports AP. A US warrant lead to his July 25th arrest while he was on vacation in Greece.

Vinnik, who appealed Wednesday's decision, is accused of running BTC-e - a digital currency exchange used to trade bitcoin - to facilitate crimes ranging from computer hacking to drug trafficking since 2011.

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.

Russia's Prosecutor-General's Office requested Vinnik's extradition to Russian Federation. While Vinnik denies those charges too, he consents to being returned to Russian Federation.

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A Greek court's decision to extradite Russian national Alexander Vinnik to the United States violates the Russia-Greece legal assistance agreement and proves that Washington has put political pressure on Athens, Russian Civic Chamber Deputy Secretary Sergey Ordzhonikidze told Sputnik Wednesday.

"We have faith in the Greek justice system and a long road ahead of us", said another of Vinnik's lawyers, Xanthippi Moisidou.

USA prosecutors accuse Vinnik of running BTC-e, a digital currency exchange they say was used to launder huge amounts of dirty money for organised criminal groups.

Vinnik claims he only worked as a technical consultant for the owners of BTC-e, and was not its operator. 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.

"Exchanges like this are not only illegal, but they are a breeding ground for stolen identity refund fraud schemes and other types of tax fraud".