Court Drops Charges Against Alleged Btc-e Operator Alexander Vinnik

Court Drops Charges Against Alleged Btc-e Operator Alexander Vinnik

News

The lawsuit against alleged Btc-e operator Alexander Vinnik for “fraud, money laundering, and other grave crimes” filed in Cyprus has reportedly been dropped. His lawyer says the case “fell apart at the very early stage” at the initiative of the plaintiffs themselves.

Also read: Indian Supreme Court Moves Crypto Hearing, Community Calls for Positive Regulations

Lawsuit Dropped

The lawsuit filed in Cyprus against Alexander Vinnik has reportedly been withdrawn by the plaintiffs, Tass reported on Tuesday. Vinnik allegedly operated the now-defunct Cyprus-registered cryptocurrency exchange Btc-e. His lawyer Timofei Musatov wrote in a press release sent to the news outlet:

A court session of the Limassol District Court was held on November 27, 2018, where the plaintiffs withdrew the action to accuse Alexander Vinnik of fraud, money laundering and other grave crimes.

Court Drops Charges Against Alleged Btc-e Operator Alexander VinnikExpressing his satisfaction with the court’s decision, Musatov said that the court “not only formally satisfied the motion, but also made the decision on the compensation of all legal costs the defendant incurred.”

He asserted that the case “fell apart at the very early stage … at the initiative of the plaintiffs themselves,” noting:

[This] proves the weakness of accusations against Alexander, vulnerability of plaintiffs’ legal position and their unwillingness to get the case as far as an open legal battle.

Other Legal Battles Continue

Vinnik was detained in Greece on July 25 last year on a warrant issued by the U.S. Department of Justice. He has been in a Greek prison ever since. The U.S. accuses him of laundering between $4 billion and $9 billion from Mt. Gox’s hack through Btc-e and other exchanges.

Court Drops Charges Against Alleged Btc-e Operator Alexander VinnikThe Greek Supreme Court ruled last year to extradite Vinnik to the U.S. and, later on, to Russia. However, “Due to the conflicting extradition requests, the decision on Vinnik’s extradition is likely to be made by the country’s Minister of Justice or, possibly, the Greek leadership,” Tass wrote. France also joined the dispute over the Russian national, accusing him of cybercrime and money laundering. “Now there are decisions to extradite Alexander Vinnik to the United States, to Russia, and to France,” Kommersant elaborated.

Regarding whether he operated Btc-e, Vinnik told Tass in October that he was only a technical expert at the exchange. “I gave some advice to that platform. That’s not a crime, and the exchange itself is not a crime, it is just a platform for exchanging cryptocurrency,” he claims.

Last week, Vinnik’s lawyer accused the judges of the Greek supreme court of violating his rights. He also reportedly went on a hunger strike a few days later.

What do you think of the Cypriot court dropping charges against Vinnik? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Reuters.


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