Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Russian Federation scores temporary win against USA on cybercrime suspect

Bennie Garza | 12 October, 2017, 15:14

A tug-of-war between the United States and Russia over the extradition of a Russian national suspected of bitcoin-related fraud went into a new round on Wednesday when a Greek court backed Russia's claim.

Greece's justice minister will make the final call whether he will be handed over to the U.S. or Russian Federation.

On Wednesday, a different panel of judges accepted a Russian extradition request, which followed the initial US one. Russia has complained repeatedly about the detention of Russian citizens while traveling overseas, accusing USA officials of "kidnapping" them. Two separate Greek court decisions have now granted both countries' request to.

In its ruling Wednesday, the court upheld the request from Russian Federation for Alexander Vinnik to return to his homeland and stand trial on lesser charges relating to alleged fraud worth 10,000 euros.

While the US Department of Justice told us this week Vinnik's extradition is legal under the US-Greek extradition treaty, Russian Federation disagrees and believes its request should be given precedence.

"If the Supreme Court rejects the USA request, as our client wants, the minister is obliged to follow (its) decision", Moissidou said.

The latest ruling extends a legal tug-of-war between Russian Federation and the United States over Vinnik, 37, who was arrested in July during a holiday in Greece following a US request. He has appealed his US extradition, and Greece's Supreme Court is expected to rule on that appeal in coming weeks.

According to U.S. authorities, Vinnik "stole identities, facilitated drug trafficking, and helped to launder criminal proceeds from syndicates around the world".

He faces up to 55 years in prison if convicted on the USA charges.

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