All news

Greek Justice Ministry vows to review extradition of Russian suspect fairly

Alexander Vinnik has been in custody since mid-2017, while on hunger strike since November 26, 2018

ATHENS, March 6. /TASS/. The Greek Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights has assured that it would impartially tackle the issue of extraditing Russian national Alexander Vinnik who has been in custody since July 2017, Russian Prosecutor-General Yuri Chaika told reporters on Wednesday.

Chaika noted that, during his meeting with Greek Minister of Justice Michalis Kalogirou, the parties discussed in particular the extradition of Russian citizens Alexander Vinnik and Yevgeny Kalinin. "The minister assured me that he would tackle the issue in an unbiased manner regardless of any external pressure," he said.

According to Chaika, he drew the Greek minister’s attention to the fact that Vinnik’s health condition had deteriorated. "Firstly, his health condition is not good enough, he is sick. Secondly, in Russia, people are held in custody in connection with extradition for a year, while he (Vinnik) has been in custody for 19 months now. Greek laws allow that. Nevertheless, we have received assurances of constructive cooperation in this matter and will address the issue in the near future," Chaika said.

During his visit to Athens, Chaika met with Greek Minister of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights Michalis Kalogirou, Supreme Court Prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou and President of Greece’s Supreme Court Vassilios Peppas to discuss international legal cooperation with them.

Russian national Alexander Vinnik was detained in Greece on July 25, 2017, at the United States’ request, where he is accused of laundering $4-9 bln through the now non-existent BTC-e cryptocurrency trading platform. Russia has sought the individual’s extradition, while France sent a similar request in June. Furthermore, Greece is pressing criminal charges against the Russian citizen.

He has been in a Greek prison since then. Greece's Supreme Court ruled in 2017 to extradite Vinnik to the United States but later on revised its decision and first ruled to extradite him to Russia at the request of the Russian Prosecutor’s Office and then to France on a European arrest warrant issued by Paris.

Since November 26, 2018, Vinnik has been on a hunger strike protesting against "judicial outrage," calling himself a political inmate and demanding that the Greek authorities give him an opportunity to return to his home country.

The inmate’s defense attorneys have demanded Vinnik’s release, as the 18 months during which, under the Greek constitution, he could be held in custody without charges brought against him, expired on January 26, 2019.