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Moscow follows developments regarding detained Russian national Vinnik — Kremlin

It is reported that the Russian national has been transported from Athens to San Francisco in the US

SOCHI, August 5. /TASS/. Moscow is closely following all developments regarding detained Russian national Alexander Vinnik, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

"We are following the developments regarding Vinnik, just like the rest of Russian nationals. This is all I can say," Peskov said speaking at a news briefing.

Vinnik’s French lawyer Frederic Belot told TASS earlier in the day that the Russian national, who was handed over to Greece on Thursday based on a ruling of a court in Paris, had been immediately transported from Athens to San Francisco in the United States. Belot added Vinnik "has no financial means to hire a private lawyer in the United States and his defense will be handled by public attorneys."

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 case

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).