Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Calls Bitcoin Figure’s Extradition “Unacceptable”



The Supreme Administrative Court of Greece has suspended the extradition of Alexander Vinnik, often referred to as “Mr. Bitcoin,” pending a review of his new appeal in January of next year.

The extradition order had been signed last Friday by Greek Minister of Justice Konstantinos Tsiaras. Vinnik has now appealed that decision and he will be granted another review, which will occur in an expedited fashion as early as January 10, 2020, according to the alleged money launderer’s Russian lawyer Timofei Musatov.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had protested on Monday that Greece’s decision to authorize the extradition of Russian national Alexander Vinnik to the United States via France was “sly,” “unacceptable” and made without duly considering information Russia had presented on the case.

Vinnik, dubbed “Mr. Bitcoin,” who was arrested in northern Greece in July of 2017, is sought by the United States, France and Russia, all of which have issued international arrest warrants over an e-currency platform he set up and is charged with using to launder money.

“[Greece] made somewhat of a sly decision because it had received three requests for extradition from the US, France and Russia. Despite the fact that we spoke about (this) with Greek Foreign Minister [Nikos Dendias], who said he would consider our argumentation, Greek authorities made the decision to authorize the extradition and did not inform us,” Lavrov said.

“We think this approach to be unacceptable by our Greek partners, who promised to carefully consider all of the information (Russia) presented them with (on the case). We are in close contact with (the Greek authorities) and insist that they take further measures to consider our request (to extradite Vinnik to Russia),” Lavrov added.

Friday’s decision to extradite him from Greece led Vinnik to begin yet another new hunger strike, according to his lawyer Zoe Costantopoulou. At that time, she called the decision “unfair” and a “death sentence.”

Vinnik, who wishes to be extradited to his homeland of Russia, is currently hospitalized under guard in Athens, suffering from health problems resulting from his earlier hunger strike, which lasted from November of 2018 to February, 2019.