France’s Interrogation of Alleged BTC-e Owner Alexander Vinnik Was ‘Fake’, Says Attorney

Alleged former owner of crypto exchange BTC-e Alexander Vinnik was indicted and subjected to a “fake” interrogation by French prosecutors on Tuesday, August 28, his attorney Timofey Musatov told Russian news outlet Izvestiya Thursday, August 30.

Musatov claims that his client Vinnik was brought to a court in Greece where he is currently awaiting extradition and then informed about official charges in France.

Musatov also told Izvestiya that French prosecutors attempted to hold a “fake” interrogation without informing his lawyers, which he insists was a violation of Vinnik’s rights.

He further explains that under Greek law only local security forces can conduct investigation procedures in the country. Vinnik’s attorney raises the question to reporters of why “French citizens though involved in prosecution can proceed with investigation in another country with no relevant permission.”

According to Izvestiya’s report, Musatov did not specify which particular accusations Vinnik is facing in France nor did he mention the questions Vinnik was allegedly asked during the examination.

Vinnik was arrested by Greek police in July 2017 under the order of the U.S. Department of Justice, who accused him of fraud and laundering $4 billion in Bitcoin over the course of six years.

As Cointelegraph reported this July, France charged Vinnik in absentia of “defraud[ing] over 100 people in six French cities between 2016 and 2018” and requested his extradition. That same month a Greek court ruled to extradite Vinnik to France, but his attorneys appealed against the court’s decision in the Greek Supreme Court.

At the time of Greece’s ruling, the Russian government also intervened in Russian national Vinnik’s case, asking the court to extradite him to his home country.

The decision over which country will eventually apprehend Vinnik is up to Greece’s justice minister. The next hearing will reportedly be held on Tuesday, September 4, in the Supreme Civil and Criminal Court of Greece.

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