Man who was worth billions in bitcoins behind bars – Vinnik convicted of money laundering

Partially guilty? – Alexander Vinnik is one of the main suspects in the disastrous hack of the defunct crypto exchange Mt Gox. He was notably accused of money laundering, by facilitating the concealment of bitcoins stolen from this platform in 2014. But it was for other acts of money laundering that he was tried in France last October.

A ransomware and bitcoin laundering system

Since his arrest by Greek police in 2017, Alexander Vinnik has been the subject of extradition requests from both Russia (where he is from), France and the United States . It was finally France that obtained the transfer of the suspect to its soil from Greece, in early 2020.

The trial of Alexander Vinnik thus opened in Paris on October 19 . As summarized by the Russian newspaper The Moscow Times , the charges against this computer developer concerned the use of ransomware to obtain Bitcoin Profit software and then their laundering through the exchange platform BTC-e .

The one who has always presented himself as a “simple technical operator” of the BTC-e platform has just received the verdict of his trial, which will be described as half-hearted .

Sentencing to 5 years in prison

Even though there was not sufficient evidence against Alexander Vinnik to support the charges of participation in the use of the ransomware called Locky , the Russian national was convinced to have participated in and facilitated the laundering of the 135 million euros hijacked by these cyber attacks.

The now 41-year-old man, already in detention, was therefore sentenced to 5 years‘ imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 euros for money laundering in an organized gang.

If Alexander Vinnik had been extradited to the United States rather than France, things could have turned even worse for him. He is indeed facing 21 charges , ranging from identity theft to facilitating drug trafficking, including money laundering.

In the reverse, is, like the the souhaitait, carry Extrade été en Russie , il n’y serait que d’une room fraude de 9 500 euros . Suffice it to say that he would have come out free.