Moscow Outraged by Greece's Actions as Athens Extradites Russian Citizen Vinnik to US
18:25 GMT 05.08.2022 (Updated: 18:28 GMT 05.08.2022)
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Moscow is outraged by the actions of Greece, which launched a hunt for Russian citizens under pressure from Washington, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, commenting on the extradition of Russian citizen Alexander Vinnik from Greece to the United States.
"We are outraged by the unfriendly actions of the Greek authorities, who — under pressure from the United States, which launched a real hunt for Russian citizens in third countries under far-fetched pretexts — handed over our compatriot Alexander Vinnik to be punished by US punitive justice," Zakharova said in a statement.
She also noted that, contrary to the provision of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963 and the appeal of the Russian embassy in Athens, representatives of the consulate, the embassy, as well as a lawyer and translator were not allowed to see Vinnik.
The diplomat also drew attention to the fact that the requests of the Russian authorities for the extradition of Vinnik to Russia as to the country of his nationality, which Moscow had been sending since 2017, had been ignored. In addition, Athens ignored Moscow's requests to apply the 1983 Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, knowing the dire humanitarian situation Vinnik was in.
Vinnik is set to appear for a legal proceeding at 10:30 A.M. PST (17:30 GMT), a court spokesperson said in a statement to Sputnik.
Vinnik was extradited from Greece to the United States earlier on Friday to face accusations of money laundering through his cryptocurrency trading platform BTC-e. Vinnik faces 55 years in prison if convicted on the charges, which he denies.
The Greek authorities detained Vinnik in 2017 at the request of the US government. However, Vinnik was initially extradited to France, where he was sentenced to five years in prison and fined $119,433. Vinnik was later returned to Greece before being taken to the United States on a private plane.
5 August 2022, 06:12 GMT
The US government’s criminal complaint against Vinnik and BTC-e alleges that the company obscured and anonymous transactions and sources of funds, leading to them receiving criminal proceeds linked to various cybercrimes.
US customers of BTC-e used the platform to conduct transactions worth over $296 million, according to the criminal complaint. Vinnik and other administrators of BTC-e were aware of the company’s function as a money laundering enterprise, prosecutors allege.
Vinnik will be provided with all necessary consular and legal assistance, the Russian Embassy in Washington said on Friday.