Vinnik’s lawyer appeals against the 5-year prison sentence

Alexander Vinnik’s lawyers appealed the court’s ruling, arguing that the defendant was not involved in any money laundering operations.


The defence team of Alexander Vinnik, the alleged Bitcoin washer who was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, disagrees with the court’s decision.


According to a December 18 report by the Russian news agency Kommersant, Vinnik’s lawyer, Frederic Belot, appealed the French court’s ruling, arguing that the defendant was not involved in any money laundering operations.


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Citing a Dec. 6 ruling accusing Vinnik of “money laundering as part of an organized criminal group,” Belot emphasized that no “criminal group” consists of just one person. “The court did not mention a single name that allegedly belonged to this group,” Belot reportedly said.


According to Belot, Vinnik was rather a victim of his anonymous “employers” at the now-defunct BTC-e cryptoexchange, as his involvement in the management of the platform has not been proven: “Vinnik was only a full-time trader and did not participate, at least not consciously, in any money laundering operations,” Belot said.


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Vinnik’s defence expects the court to hear the appeal in four months, Belot said. The lawyers also argued that the Paris court’s ruling was based on an investigation subject to interference by U.S. intelligence agencies. According to the report, Vinnik faces a 50-year prison sentence in the United States in case of possible extradition.


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Colloquially known as “Mr. Bitcoin,” Vinnik is the convicted creator of a global illegal scheme that laundered over $4 billion in capital flows through BTC-e. More than three years after his arrest in Greece, Vinnik’s trial finally took place in early December 2020. Vinnik previously denied his involvement in BTC-e, claiming that he was only an employee of the company.

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