Extortion and Bitcoin money laundering: Vinnik trial starts in Paris

Vinnik is now facing trial for the $4 billion BTC stolen from the Mt Gox stock exchange.

The trial of Alexander Vinnik for alleged Bitcoin (BTC) money laundering worth $4 billion began in Paris on Monday.

However, despite the alleged links to the hacking attack on Mt Gox, in which 300,000 BTC were stolen in 2014, prosecutors are focusing on a ransomware fraud of 135 million euros. This was targeted at French companies and organisations between 2016 and 2018.

According to The Associated Press, Vinnik is accused of extortion, money laundering and criminal association. 20 victims of the malware „Locky“ paid a ransom in Bitcoin via BTC-e.

Vinnik is said to have been one of the authors of the malware and the former operator of the crypto currency exchange, which has now been taken offline. He claimed, however, that he was only a technical advisor to BTC-e and had no knowledge of any misconduct.

If Vinnik is found guilty, he could face up to 10 years in prison.

Cointelegraph reported that Vinnik was arrested in Greece in 2017 at the behest of the US authorities.

This was followed by a legal tug-of-war in which prosecutors from France, the US and Russia requested his extradition. Vinnik himself wanted to be extradited to Russia, where he would face lighter sentences.

Earlier this year, Greek authorities decided that he should be extradited first to France, then to the USA and finally to Russia.

After his extradition to France, the Russian authorities unsuccessfully requested that he be returned to his home country under house arrest.

If the trial takes place in the US, he will probably have to answer for the $4 billion hacking attack on Mt Gox. The 300,000 BTCs stolen in the hack attack were allegedly laundered through BTC-e and Vinnik’s personal wallets.