The trial of Alexander Vinnik, co-founder of the now-closed cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e, who was extradited from Greece to France, will take place on September 14.
According to the lawyer, the order to send the case to court was signed by the investigating judge three days ago. Belo stressed that Vinnik was just an operator, and not at all one of the founders (of the cryptocurrency exchange) BTC-e, as it is written in the American indictment. “That is just the person who did the technical work. He was deceived by the customer, and in reality, Mr. Vinnik is a victim, a person who was manipulated,” he said.
Belo claims that Vinnik was a freelancer and worked online: “Today people work remotely, without being personally acquainted with each other. Naturally, Mr. Vinnik asked questions, wanted to understand the purpose of what he was doing, but he was lied to. And today, he finds himself involved in a case that can happen to anyone due to the anonymity that exists on the Internet."
In France, Vinnik was charged on 16 counts, which include participation in a criminal organized group and money laundering. For this, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
The BBC Russian service published an investigation into WEX (successor to BTC-e) last November. The investigation says that WEX assets - about $ 450 million in cryptocurrency - could be transferred to the fund of the FSB of Russia.