Russian national Alexander Vinnik, accused of laundering $4 billion through Bitcoin crypto-currency exchange in the U.S., could be extradited to France after a Greek court approved the move.
Vinnik, 38, was arrested in Greece last year. A court in Thessaloniki on Friday agreed to France’s request for extradition where Vinnik is wanted on charges. He is also sought by the authorities in the U.S. and Russia.
Greece’s justice minister will have to decide between competing extradition claims from Russia, the U.S. and France.
Vinnik was initially detained in Halkidiki, northern Greece on a U.S. arrest warrant during a holiday with his family in July 2017.
Friday’s extradition decision comes in the same week that two Russian diplomats were ordered out of Greece amid concerns they had been supporting protest groups and others in northern Greece opposed to the ‘North Macedonia’ deal.
In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said: “These measures have been taken contrary to the legal framework of bilateral cooperation in the area of legal aid in civil and criminal matters.
“Greece has turned a blind eye to a request from the Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia to extradite Vinnik to his home country, a request that should have been given priority.
“It is obvious that Russia cannot leave these actions unanswered.”