ATHENS, January 22. /TASS/. During his visit to Russia last year, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias promised to analyze the information provided by Russia to ensure Russian national Alexander Vinnik’s extradition to his home country, but this promise has not been honored so far, Vinnik’s Attorney in Greece Nikos Konstantopoulos told reporters at a news conference in Athens.
"This is not a typical extradition case, and it is used to demonstrate strange absolutism. This is the case, which will show our country in an unfavorable light in many international organizations," he said, adding that the Greek authorities "decided to ignore Moscow’s diplomatic demand to extradite Vinnik to Russia."
"All of us remember that during Dendias’ visit to Russia after a certain chill in relations between our country and Russia, the first issue raised by Russian Foreign Minister [Sergey] Lavrov was Vinnik’s release and his extradition to Moscow," the attorney stressed. "The Greek minister promised to do that, that’s why Russia later on said publicly that Greece had deceived it."
He noted that Greek Justice Minister Konstantinos Tsiaras who decided to extradite Vinnik to three countries in succession "could choose his extradition to one country, that is, his homeland, because Vinnik is ready to go there, and Russia has requested his extradition." "The decision to extradite him to France is inadmissible as long as no explanations have been provided why he is not extradited to Russia. The family is broken up, the right to life and health is violated. Greece has obligations for imprisonment in conditions, which do not allow torture and bullying," the attorney pointed out.
Konstantopoulos drew attention to the fact that no charges had been pressed against Vinnik in Greece itself. "The United States and France demand his extradition, while in Greece he is not prosecuted. That is, the Greek judicial system puts forward illegal demands, violating human rights. Russia insists on its citizen’s return to his home country. I feel not only shame but also anger because of such behavior by our justice and state," he concluded.
Vinnik, a Russian IT specialist, was detained while vacationing in Greece on July 25, 2017, at the United States’ request, where he is accused of laundering four to nine billion US dollars through a no longer existent Internet exchange of cryptocurrencies BTC-e. The Thessaloniki Court of Appeals and the Greek Supreme Court ruled that Vinnik be extradited to the United States and France. Russia is also seeking his extradition, and there is a corresponding verdict of the Greek Supreme Court. Vinnik denied Washington’s and Paris’ charges and agreed to be extradited to Russia.
On December 19, 2019, Greek Justice Minister Konstantinos Tsiaras decided to extradite Vinnik first to France and then the United States and Russia. Vinnik’s defense attorneys filed several complaints with the Council of State — the Supreme Administrative Court of Greece, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which handles cases related to illegal detention.