- Alexander Vinnik is in court.
- He is charged with extortion, money laundering, and crime.
- The Russian criminal operated BTC-e, a former Bitcoin trading website.
Alexander Vinnik, a Russian national associated with laundering $4 billion of Bitcoin stolen in the Mt. Gox hack, is in court.
Vinnik’s trial commenced today on 19th October 2020, in Paris.
Prosecutors are focusing on a $159 million ransomware fraud aimed at French companies between 2016 and 2018 instead of a 300,000 BTC hack of Mt. Gox in 2014.
AP News claims that the Russian is accused of extortion, money laundering, and crime after 20 victims of the malware paid the ransom in Bitcoin using BTC-e.
Alexander is claimed to be one of the malware originators and a previous worker of the now-shuttered cryptocurrency exchange. However, he declares that he was just a technical consultant at BTC-e and was unaware of any crime. Vinnik faces a to 10-year imprisonment if found guilty.
Alexander was arrested in Ouranoupoli, Greece, while on holiday with his family. He was accused of administering an international money-laundering system.
The United States charged Vinnik with running BTC-e, one of the most common websites for trading Bitcoin. The website is reported to lack “basic anti-money laundering controls and policies”, says the US Department of Justice. “BTC-e emerged as one of the principal means by which cybercriminals around the world laundered the proceeds of their illicit activity.”
BTC-e got going in June 2011. It had a slow start with only 20,000 by the close of 2012. However, when the chief Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, fell into financial and legal trouble the subsequent year, BTC-e soared. It gained 570,000 users by October 2014, with a fifth of them speaking Russian.