Greek police recently discovered a plan to kill Alexander Vinnik, a Russian national detained in Greece at the United States’ request under suspicion of money laundering, an unnamed source told Sputnik.
Vinnik is wanted in the U.S. for allegedly laundering more than $4 billion in bitcoins. The sum includes funds stolen from the now-defunct bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox. Indicted on 21 counts from a grand jury, Vinnik faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
The prosecutor of Thessaloniki and the prison head told Vinnik about the plot to poison him, which allegedly involved the help of criminals, the source said. Special security measures were used to protect Vinnik.
A Sputnik reporter was shown documents that confirmed the murder plot.
Local authorities arrested Vinnik, a Russian national, last year while he was vacationing in Greece. Vinnik and his legal team protested that he should stand trial in Russia, where he has been indicted on minor fraud charges involving an alleged $10,500 theft.
Vinnik has not been allowed to receive food, water or anything from people he does not know. The security around him has been upgraded, and he can only move around the prison with extra security.
The police received information concerning the murder plot early this year, but until now, it has not been publicized.
Criminals Behind Murder Plot
There are no special services of any country involved in the assassination plot, the source said. Only criminals are believed to be involved.
The assassination plot began after Vinnik’s extradition to the United States was blocked, the source said since there are people interested in not allowing him to go to Russia. An unknown person in Russia ordered the assassination.
There is no connection between Vinnik’s case and that of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy who was poisoned in the United Kingdom.
Vinnik acknowledged his guilt in Russia, which believes he is familiar with financial technology crimes. according to the source. The source added that Vinnik is ready to assist the investigation in Russia.
Vinnik’s lawyers did not wish to comment on the plot.
The United States requested Vinnik to be detained since he is suspected of laundering between $4 billion and $9 billion dollars through a cryptocurrency exchange.
Two separate judge panels in Thessaloniki adopted mutually exclusive decisions in October, one on extraditing Vinnik to Russia and the other extraditing him to the United States. Greece’s Supreme Court upheld the decision to extradite him to the United States in December. In January, his lawyer, Timofey Musatov, told Sputnik Vinnik would appeal the extradition ruling with the European Court of Human Rights.
BTC-e, the bitcoin exchange Vinnik allegedly ran, was seized by authorities at the time of his arrest. The exchange — which ultimately rebranded and relaunched as WEX — denied that Vinnik was ever employed by the company, while Vinnik maintains that he was merely a technician.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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