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Ombudsperson seeks extradition of Russian bitcoin suspect from Greece

Alexander Vinnik has lost about 30% of weight and is practically "at death’s door," Tatyana Moskalkova said

MOSCOW, February 25. /TASS/. Russian human rights ombudsperson has sent a letter to Greek Minister of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights Michalis Kalogirou with a request to extradite to Russia Alexander Vinnik jailed in Athens, the press service of Tatyana Moskalkova said on Monday.

Last week, she visited the Russian bitcoin suspect in a Greek hospital. After Moskalkova's visit on February 21, he agreed to suspend a hunger strike he had been on since November 2018.

"I appeal to you Mister Minister with a request to extradite to the Russian Federation for further investigation Russian national Alexander Vinnik, who is facing criminal charges in Russia and whose family and health condition is grave," the letter said.

The ombudsperson says Vinnik has lost about 30% of weight and is practically "at death’s door". His wife is also seriously ill, she was diagnosed with brain cancer. Two underage children may remain orphans, Moskalkova stresses.

Russian national Alexander Vinnik was detained in Greece on July 25, 2017, at the US’ request, where he is accused of laundering $4-9 bln through the now non-existent BTC-e cryptocurrency trading platform. Russia has sought the individual’s extradition, while France sent a similar request in June. Furthermore, Greece is pressing criminal charges against the Russian citizen.

He has been in a Greek prison since then. 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 inmate and demanding that the Greek authorities give him a possibility to get back to his homeland.