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Basketball star for a crypto launderer? Alexander Vinnik’s lawyers considers prisoner swap: Report

The authorized staff for Alexander Vinnik, a Russian nationwide just lately extradited to america for his alleged function at defunct crypto alternate BTC-e, has reportedly been urging officers to contemplate a prisoner swap. 

In accordance with a Monday report from Reuters, a lawyer representing Vinnik called on Russian overseas minister Sergey Lavrov to conduct negotiations with U.S. officers to carry the accused Bitcoin (BTC) launderer again to his house nation. Russian authorities presently have a number of U.S. residents in custody beneath questionable costs, together with basketball star Brittney Griner, educator Marc Hilliard Fogel and Paul Whelan, a former Marine detained for allegedly committing espionage.

“The one factor that may save Alexander is for the Russian Federation to enter into negotiations with the American authorities inside the framework of the alternate of prisoners between the nations talked about,” a letter from Vinnik’s lawyer, Frederic Belot, reportedly famous.

Vinnik allegedly helped launder roughly $4 billion price of Bitcoin by his function at BTC-e, one of many world’s largest crypto exchanges on the time, with a few of the funds presumably coming from the hack of Japan-based crypto alternate Mt. Gox. Authorities in Greece arrested Vinnik in July 2017, at which level, the governments of France, Russia and the U.S. fought for extradition.

The U.S. Justice Division reported that Vinnik had been extradited on Aug. 4 from Greece to america to face costs associated to having an unlicensed cash service enterprise, conspiracy to commit cash laundering, cash laundering and fascinating in illegal financial transactions. In accordance with authorities, BTC-e “facilitated transactions for cybercriminals worldwide and obtained felony proceeds from quite a few pc intrusions and hacking incidents,” together with ransomware assaults and trafficking in medicine.

If convicted of all costs, Vinnik, 43, may reportedly withstand 55 years in jail, making any sentence tantamount to life behind bars. Griner has additionally been detained since her arrest in February, with many U.S. officers suggesting the Russian authorities could also be utilizing the basketball star as political leverage in response to sanctions following the nation’s invasion of Ukraine.

Associated: Confederate of ‘Cryptoqueen’ Ruja Ignatova faces extradition to US: Report

Russia has reportedly been engaging in “quiet diplomacy” with the U.S. following Griner being sentenced to 9 years for allegedly holding vape cartridges containing hash oil on the Sheremetyevo Worldwide Airport on Aug. 4. Nonetheless, experiences advised that the U.S. was contemplating swapping “Lord of Conflict” arms vendor Viktor Bout — and never Vinnik — in alternate for Griner and Whelan. Amid the battle in Ukraine, officers between the 2 nations negotiated the swap of former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed for Russian nationwide Konstantin Yaroshenko, who had been convicted of drug-smuggling costs in 2011.

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