ATHENS, December 3. /TASS/. The lawyer of Russian national Alexander Vinnik, arrested in Greece last year on fraud charges, has protested against a European warrant to extradite him to France.
The lawyer, Zoe Konstantopoulou, has objected to this attempt at a court session of the Greek Areios Pagos which is considering an appeal by the defense against the decision of the Thessaloniki court of first instance to extradite Vinnik to France, TASS reported from the courtroom.
The attorney stressed that her client had been on a hunger strike since November 26, protesting against this judicial outrage. The Russian defendant has pointed out among other things that the court has been reviewing his case without familiarizing him with all its documents, including from France.
The defense asked the judges to send a request to the French authorities, as stipulated by Greek law, so that they divulge on the legal status under which they demand Vinnik’s extradition as an eyewitness, as a suspect or as the accused.
According to the lawyer, “Vinnik is incarcerated in a Greek prison,” she stressed that “France has known (this) since 2017,” but, she notes the French warrant of June 15, 2018, was issued 11 months after Vinnik had been taken into Greek custody.
“The European warrant contains a blatant contradiction, because it says the actions ascribed to the Russian national were committed between January 1, 2016 and June 4, 2018. Within this period of 11 months, Vinnik was in a Greek prison and could not have committed violations on the territory other than Greece,” she said.
“This is the main reason for rejecting this European warrant,” she stressed. Vinnik “had no access in prison either to a computer or to the Internet, that is why for him to commit any crime within that period of time is impossible,” Konstantopoulou said.
She demanded that the court ask the French authorities to specify these allegations and to request the copies of all documents pertaining to the European arrest order.
Vinnik was detained in Greece on July 25, 2017, at the request of the US, where he is accused of laundering four to nine billion dollars through the now defunct BTC-e cryptocurrency trading platform. He has been in a Greek prison since then. Greece’s Supreme Court ruled in 2017 to extradite Vinnik to the United States but revised its decision this year and ruled to extradite him to Russia instead. In June, France sent a European arrest warrant for the Russian defendant to Athens.
Due to the conflicting extradition requests, the decision on Vinnik’s handover is likely to be made by the country’s Minister of Justice or, possibly, Greece’s leadership.
As for the charges leveled against him by the US, Vinnik told TASS in October that he was only a technical expert at the BTC-e cryptocurrency trading platform. “I gave some advice to that platform. That’s not a crime, and the exchange itself is not a crime, it is just a platform for exchanging cryptocurrency,” the Russian national explained.
Article Sourced via TASS