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Judge Orders Trial in France for Alleged BTC Launderer Alexander Vinnik

Also awaiting charges in the United States and Russia, suspected Bitcoin money launderer Alexander Vinnik could be facing a trial in France first.

According to news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP), a Paris judge has ordered the Russian national to stand trial for extortion, money laundering, criminal association, and fraudulently accessing and modifying data in data processing systems. 

The AFP stated French authorities have accused Vinnik of defrauding more than 100 people out of $160 million between 2016 and 2018.

Vinnik, also known as “Mr. Bitcoin,” is accused of laundering 300,000 Bitcoin (BTC) — roughly $3.4 billion at press time — over the course of six years through crypto exchange BTC-e. He was arrested during a vacation to Greece in 2017 on an indictment from the United States and subsequently extradited to France in January.

Three-way tug-of-war

A Russian national, Vinnik previously requested he be extradited to his home country, where he would reportedly face lesser charges involving defrauding victims out of $11,000.

After his trial in France concludes, Vinnik could be returned to Greece to face extradition to the United States, where authorities reportedly want to question him regarding his connection to the infamous hack of Mt. Gox. Some of the Bitcoin from BTC-e may have come from the now defunct Japanese crypto exchange.

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