ATHENS, November 27. /TASS/. Attempts to launch a criminal case in Cyprus against Russian national Alexander Vinnik on charges of fraud, money laundering and other grave crimes have failed at the very start, the head of the group of Vinnik’s lawyers, Timofei Musatov, told reporters on Tuesday.
Vinnik was detained in Greece on July 25, 2017, at the request of the US, where he is accused of laundering four to nine billion dollars through the now non-existent BTC-e cryptocurrency trading platform. He has been in a Greek prison since then.
"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," Musatov said in a press release received by the TASS office in Greece.
The lawyer stressed that the Cypriot court "not only formally satisfied the motion, but also made the decision on compensation of all legal costs the defendant incurred". Musatov expressed satisfaction with the court decision. He said Vinnik’s defense pays specific attention to the fact that in the case "fell apart at the very early stage, and, which is important, at the initiative of the plaintiffs themselves, which 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".
In 2017, the Greek Supreme Court ruled to extradite Vinnik to the US and, later on, to Russia. 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.
Russia has sought Vinnik’s extradition as well, while France sent a similar request in June.
As for the charges brought by the US, Vinnik told TASS in October that he was only a technical expert at the BTC-e cryptocurrency trading platform. "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," the Russian national explained.