Greek court backs extradition of BTC-e's alleged owner to US

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A Russian hacker can be extradited from Greece to the U.S. where he is wanted in connection with a $4 billion (€3.39 billion) Bitcoin fraud case, a court in Thessaloniki has ruled.

The Thessaloniki Council of Judges ruled to satisfy the USA request for the extradition of Russian citizen Alexander Vinnik on 4 October, RIA Novosti reported.

Alexander Vinnik, 38, was arrested in Greece in July and is wanted by both the States and Moscow.

The Russian is also wanted for extradition to his home country in connection with the same crimes.

A hearing date for the Russian extradition request on lesser fraud charges has not yet been set. Reuters reports that a Greek court today cleared him to be extradited to the United States, where he could face up to 55 years in prison.

Authorities accused Vinnik of running digital currency exchange BTC-e and of involvement in laundering money from criminal proceeds, charges he denies. His lawyers have already appealed the court ruling.

The Greek Justice Ministry has decided on one of most important cases that country is part of. Officials said Russian Federation would like extradition of its citizens, but did not oppose decision.

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.

They say Vinnik "obtained" funds from the hack of Mt. Gox and laundered them through BTC-e and Tradehill, another San Francisco-based exchange he owned.

USA authorities also linked him to the failure of Mt. Gox, a Japan-based bitcoin exchange that collapsed in 2014 after being hacked.

"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".

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