After years of requests, U.S. acquires Russian money launderer in extradition from France and Greece
Alexander Vinnik has been extradited to the United States where he will face additional charges that could send him to prison for up to 50 years for money laundering. On August 4, a court in Paris sentenced the Russian computer expert to five years in prison for helping to create the “Locky” ransomware, which caused an estimated 135 million euros in damages in France alone. (The U.S. withdrew a separate extradition request before the French court’s ruling, allowing Vinnik to be transferred first to Greece, where he was initially arrested in July 2017, before being moved again to America.)
For years, Moscow has also sought Vinnik’s extradition, accusing him of committing fraud and causing almost 750 million rubles (currently $12.4 million) in damages to Russian businesses and citizens.
Vinnik’s relatives say he was allowed to telephone them from custody in Boston before he was transferred again to a detention facility in San Francisco. “Everything happened and was framed like a kidnapping,” they told the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.
In the U.S., Alexander Vinnik is suspected of laundering $4 billion through BTC-e, a Russian cryptocurrency exchange.