US News Russian Alexander Vinnik, suspected of online scams, sent to trial in France

20:40  03 august  2020
20:40  03 august  2020 Source:   ouest-france.fr

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Alexander Vinnik, lors de son extradition de la Grèce vers la France, le 13 décembre 2017. © LOUISA GOULIAMAKI / AFP / Illustration Alexander Vinnik, during his extradition from Greece to France, December 13, 2017.

Alexander Vinnik , suspected of extortion should be tried in France, after the decision of a judge requesting his referral to correctional. The Russian would have claimed 5,700 victims, including 200 in France alone.

The Russian Alexander Vinnik, suspected of vast online scams and at the heart of a diplomatic-judicial standoff between France, the United States and Russia, has been remanded in correctional by a Parisian judge, a- we learned Monday from judicial sources close to the case.

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This man, arrested in Greece in 2017 and handed over to the French authorities at the end of January, must in particular be tried for extortion and aggravated money laundering, said the source close to the case, confirming information from Parisien .

In his order, the investigating magistrate also referred him to trial for criminal association with a view to committing an offense punishable by 10 years' imprisonment and for having fraudulently introduced himself into automated data processing systems and having there entered or edited data.

Several victims counted between 2016 and 2018

Mr. Vinnik, who rejects the accusations against him, is suspected by the French courts of being behind the Locky ransomware, of which dozens of individuals, communities and companies were victims between 2016 and 2018.

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This malicious software, which encrypts data and only unblocks it against the payment of a ransom, would have caused damage estimated in 2018 at around 135 million euros.

After three months, the investigating judge, after receiving new documents, closes the case before we can even file our observations. We have not been able to exercise the rights of the defense, told AFP the lawyer in France of Mr. Vinnik, Me Ariane Zimra.

She also deplored the conditions of her client's handover to France, denouncing an intervention by the Greek executive power and the lack of translation for many documents in the file.

21 Charges In The United States

Alexander Vinnik was arrested at a tourist resort in northern Greece in July 2017, on the basis of a US arrest warrant.

In January of the same year, a US federal prosecutor had pronounced 21 charges against him, while he is suspected by the United States of being the mastermind of BTC-e, one of the main platforms of bitcoin exchange around the world until it is closed.

Mr. Vinnik asked to be extradited to Russia, where he is being prosecuted for a fraud of € 9,500, which bears no relation to the BTC-e case. But the European mandate having priority for Greece, it had ended up being handed over to the French authorities.

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