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Foreign Ministry looking into extradition of bitcoin suspect from Greece, says Kremlin

March 04, 15:15 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russian national Alexander Vinnik was detained in Greece on July 25, 2017 at the request of the US

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MOSCOW, March 4. /TASS/. The Russian Foreign Ministry is working to obtain the extradition of Alexander Vinnik, a Russian citizen from Greece to his home country, but there is no clarity in this issue yet, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

"They are dealing with Vinnik’s fate, naturally. There is no clarity yet. The Russian Foreign Ministry is working on this matter, so this issue should be addressed there, since the Foreign Ministry is the single point of contact for such affairs," he said.

Vinnik’s case

Russian national Alexander Vinnik was detained in Greece on July 25, 2017, at the request of the US, where he is accused of laundering $4-9 bln through the now non-existent BTC-e cryptocurrency trading platform. Greece's Supreme Court ruled in 2017 to extradite Vinnik to the United States but later on revised its decision and first ruled to extradite him to Russia at the request of the Russian prosecutor’s office and then to France on a European arrest warrant issued by Paris.

Since November 26, 2018, Vinnik has been on a hunger strike protesting against "judicial outrage," calling himself a political prisoner and demanding that the Greek authorities offer him the possibility to return to his homeland. On February 28, 2019, Vinnik’s lawyers learnt that the Greek authorities had transferred the Russian defendant from a prison cell to a specialized clinic, where he is receiving high-quality medical treatment to help him end his hunger strike.

Vinnik’s defense lawyers are demanding their client’s release, because under the Greek constitution, the 18 months during which he could be held in custody without charges brought against him expired on January 26, 2019. Section 6 of the Greek Constitution says that the maximum term of any pre-trial detention cannot exceed one year for crimes, and in exceptional cases, this term may be prolonged for six months by a decision of the corresponding judicial council.

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