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Greece clears extradition of Russian cybercrime suspect to US

Alexander Vinnik, a 38-year-old Russian man suspected of running a money laundering operation using bitcoin, is escorted by police officers while leaving a court in Thessaloniki, Greece

A Greek court cleared the way on Wednesday for the extradition to the United States of a Russian man suspected of using a bitcoin exchange to launder billions of dollars.

Alexander Vinnik is accused by US authorities of using BTC-e – a digital currency exchange – to launder more than $4 billion since 2011 for people involved in crimes ranging from computer hacking to drug trafficking.

Russia has also sought Vinnik’s extradition on lesser fraud charges but he does not plan to challenge that request.

If extradited to the United States Vinnik, 37, faces up to 55 years in prison. He denies the charges and his lawyers have appealed Wednesday’s decision toGreece‘s Supreme Court.

Greece‘s justice minister can approve extradition to one country and block the other in the event of competing requests from two or more countries.

Vinnik was arrested in a small beachside village in northern Greece in late July following an investigation led by the US Justice Department.

He is one of seven Russians arrested or indicted on US cyber crime charges this year and Moscow has sought the extradition of its nationals wanted by the US before.

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