Alexander Vinnik, co-founder of BTC-e, is a Russian citizen who is currently being held in the United States on charges of money laundering. The U.S. Department of Justice alleges that Vinnik’s exchange aided ransomware attacks, identity theft schemes, and drug trafficking. BTC-e, which was founded in 2011, was seized and halted by U.S. authorities in July 2017 when they arrested several staff members at the exchange. Vinnik pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied having control over the exchange’s direction.

Prisoner Swap

Vinnik’s lawyer argued in court that his client should be allowed to respond to accusations and advocate for his inclusion in a prisoner exchange. The United States was reportedly willing to trade Vinnik for U.S. women’s pro basketball player Brittney Griner, who was previously held in Russia on drug charges. However, Griner was ultimately freed in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in 2022.

Extradition and Sentencing

Despite the fact that the United States announced charges against Vinnik years ago, he was not extradited to the U.S. until August 2022. Vinnik was first arrested in Greece in 2017 at the request of the U.S. He was then extradited to France in 2020, where he was cleared of ransomware charges but convicted on money laundering charges. He was sentenced to five years in prison in France. Russia also submitted unsuccessful extradition requests during Vinnik’s detainment.

Alexander Vinnik, co-founder of BTC-e, is seeking a prisoner exchange to be released from his current detainment in the United States on charges of money laundering. His lawyer argued that Vinnik should be allowed to respond to accusations and advocate for his inclusion in a prisoner exchange. Despite the United States’ willingness to trade Vinnik for U.S. women’s pro basketball player Brittney Griner, she was ultimately freed in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in 2022. Vinnik was extradited to France in 2020, where he was cleared of ransomware charges but convicted on money laundering charges and sentenced to five years in prison.

Exchanges

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