PARIS, August 5. /TASS/. Russian national Alexander Vinnik, who was handed over to Greece on Thursday based on a ruling of a court in Paris, has been immediately transported from Athens to the United States, his French lawyer Frederic Belot told TASS on Friday.
"He was transported yesterday in late afternoon from Paris to Athens. There he immediately boarded another aircraft, which took off to the United States," the lawyer said.
"The aircraft made a refueling landing in Boston and then took off to San Francisco," Belot continued. "Alexander [Vinnik] has no financial means to hire a private lawyer in the United States and his defense will be handled by public attorneys."
According to him, the law office is located in San Francisco and "Vinnik’s defense will be now provided on the American soil."
The Investigative Chamber of the Paris Court of Appeals ruled on August 4 that Vinnik should be extradited to Greece. The French court also upheld the United States’ request to dismiss its extradition request.
Belot said following the ruling about Vinnik’s relocation from France to Greece and the US move to drop the extradition request "Still, he wasn’t released." The French lawyer said he believed that the US move to formally drop the extradition request was a distraction trick aimed at stepping up the extradition process.
Vinnik, a Russian IT specialist, was detained in Greece in July 2017 at the request of the United States, where he is accused of laundering $4-9 billion through the no longer existing crypto exchange BTC-e.
In December 2019, Greek Justice Minister Konstantionos Tsiaras ruled that Vinnik be extradited first to France, then to the United States and eventually to Russia. In December 2020, a Paris court sentenced him to five years in prison and ordered a fine of more than 100,000 euros.
Vinnik himself said back in Greece that he would agree to return to Russia and stand a court trial in his homeland. In Russia, he is charged with embezzlement of over 600,000 rubles ($9,800) and computer fraud worth 750,000 million rubles (some $12.2 million).