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17 January, 2019
 
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Mr Bitcoin up for grabs as Cyprus sits out

Cypriot court dismisses case against Alexander Vinnik, deferring issue to bigger powers

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The attorney of Alexander Vinnik, known as Mr. Bitcoin, says the Limassol District Court has dismissed the lawsuit against his client who was facing fraud and money laundering charges.

Timofey Musatov, who is defending Vinnik according to Sigmalive, told reporters that Limassol dismissed the case against his client on Tuesday while the district judge also ordered the plaintiff to cover court and legal fees in full.

Vinnik was detained in Greece in July 2017, starting a tug-of-war situation where USA and Russia are now seeking the extradition of the 38-year-old, who reportedly confessed to computer hacking crimes related to the now non-existent BTC-e cryptocurrency trading platform.

In an interview with Kathimerini last year, Vinnik said he feared that if he was extradited to America he would 'never return'

A lawsuit filed against Vinnik in Cyprus meant that the island nation could be dealing with a hot potato problem, as Greece was also examining an extradition request by French authorities.

Last month, Cyprus decided state authorities wouldn’t hand over information on Bill Browder’s companies to Russia, despite a court ruling giving the green light amid international pressure.

Browder, a co-founder of Hermitage Capital Management, is being accused by Moscow of tax fraud and being a threat to national security. He says Russian authorities are after him because he exposed corruption, arguing that an international warrant for his arrest is politically motivated.

Greek ruling on Vinnik complicated

Athens had already decided to extradite Vinnik to the US while an extradition to Russia was also given the go ahead. But no timelines were made clear and it was not clear where Vinnik would go first.

"A court session of the Limassol District Court was held on November 27, 2018, where the plaintiffs withdrew the action to accuse Alexander Vinnik of fraud, money laundering and other grave crimes," Musatov said in a press release received by the TASS office in Greece.

The lawyer stressed that the case in Cyprus against his client did not hold any water from the very beginning.

In an interview with Kathimerini last year, Vinnik said he feared that if he was extradited to America he would “never return from the US.”

 

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Limassol  |  USA  |  Russia  |  Greece  |  France  |  Vinnik  |  Bitcoin  |  money laundering  |  fraud  |  extradition

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