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Alexander Vinnik, the alleged Russian Bitcoin fraudster has resolved to go on hunger strike in a bid to get a fair trial. It will be recalled that the suspect was arrested in Greece last year by the order of the United States. The U.S. claims he aided money laundering through his alleged Bitcoin platform, BTC-e, during the last presidential election. They believe Alexander Vinnik is the key to unearthing the buried crimes that occurred during the election.
After his arrest, his home country Russia filed for extradition on the grounds that he defrauded its citizens of their hard earned cash. A crime to which Vinnik pleaded guilty. Following the then-recent development, Greece’s court which already ruled for the extradition of Vinnik to the United States retracted its ruling and ruled in favor of the Russian National. As though crime counts come in threes, the people of France now features in the extradition drama claiming Vinnik defrauded over a hundred French citizens in different cities. The new twist got the court confused as to who deserves the right to try the case – the United States of America, Russia or France.
The extradition drama has lingered for so long and it has taken different turns on each hearing.
Vannik who has vehemently denied all counts of crimes leveled against him (except, of course, the crime he committed back home,) has decided to go on a hunger strike come Monday, 26th of November 2018. The suspect complained of being denied humane treatment. Vinnik claimed he had been transported between prisons handcuffed in the back of small cars multiple times. He believes he is never going to get a fair trial in Greece and extraditing him to France is just another means of sending him to the United States for trial, where he is positive he will not get a fair trial and would be sentenced to life imprisonment which is just as bad as death. So, he would rather die starving instead.
This was a few days before the final hearing on 29th of November when his fate would be decided.
The head of his legal team, Timofey Musatov, believe the Greek court’s judge will definitely rule in favor of France and that is just a cover for extraditing him to the United States. According to Musatov, his client’s right to a fair trial has been violated multiple times both by France and Greece. He claimed that the warrant issued by France has exceeded 90 days which is supposed to be its shelf life as such, France should be expelled from the extradition drama. One of the other lawyers in Vinnik legal team, Zoe Konstantopoulou, added that Vinnik is getting this unfair treatment because of his nationality. He claimed that the court wouldn’t serve such measure of treatment to any citizen of an EU member country or Greece.
There are too many sides to the story and so much at stake here. I wouldn’t blame the court for taking the time to reach the right decision.