BTC-e operator Alexander Vinnik Sentenced to 5-Years Prison Term by a Court in France

A court in the French capital Paris upheld a 5-year prison term (a verdict given by a court back in December 2020) against BTC-e operator Alexander Vinnik. Last year, the court found Vinnik/BTC-e guilty of committing money laundering. The court had overserved that he and his company launched money as part of an organized criminal group. The verdict also found BTC-e operator Alexander Vinnik providing false information regarding the origin of the proceeds.

French Court Sentences BTC-e Operator to Five Years | News |

The defense team of Vinnik made many requests before the court in Paris such as the copies of the evidence provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). However, several requests made by Vinnik’s legal team were rejected. However, the court in Paris exempted a 100,000 Euros fine to Vinnik, originally levied on him during the sentence in December 2020. 

Originally, BTC-e operator Alexander Vinnik was charged with defrauding around 200 persons by using ransomware. However, in December 2020 verdict, he was cleared by the court from the charges of orchestrating malware attacks. Russian state news outlet TAAS reported that the prosecution service believed Vinnik would not be able to make payments to all the victims of his crimes and that’s why asked for a smaller fee. 

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As required by the law in France, within 5-days, the defense team of BTC-e operator plans would file a cassation appeal. Alexander Vinnik, the Russian computer specialist, was detained at the request of the US during July 2017 at the time he was vacationing in Greece. The United States administration accused him of laundering over US$4 billion at the time of operating BTC-e, the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange. He was extradited to France in January 2020. Russia has also filed an extradition request. If extradited to Russia, BTC-e operator Alexander Vinnik may face lighter charges such as “fraud in the field of computer information”.  

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