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France says no breaches of Vienna Convention on Russian national Vinnik’s case

According to the French diplomat, Vinnik was extradited to France under a European arrest warrant

PARIS, January 31. /TASS/. There were no breaches of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations in the case of Russian bitcoin suspect Alexander Vinnik who was extradited to France from Greece, a spokesman for the French foreign ministry said on Friday.

"Provisions of the 1966 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations between France and Russia are observed," he said commenting on the statement by Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova who pointed to the violations of this convention in Vinnik’s case.

According to the French diplomat, Vinnik was extradited to France under a European arrest warrant. "Judicial authorities dealt with the extradition procedures," he stressed. "Consular access has been provided from January 27 and the Russian consul had a possibility to meet with Vinnik."

The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said earlier that consular access to Vinnik had been denied for more than three days under various pretexts, which constituted a flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The Russian side finds it unacceptable that the head of the Russian embassy’s consular department was barred from attending the court session on the Vinnik case in Paris on January 28.

Alexander 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. On January 23, he was extradited to France. The final decision was made by Greece’s State Council, or the Supreme Court of Greece. Vinnik’s extradition was also sought by Russia and the United States. The Russian dismissed all the charges brought against him and expressed the readiness to return home. On January 28, a Paris court ruled to keep Vinnik under arrest. The five-hour court session was held behind closed doors.