A judicial appeals court in Thessaloniki, Greece, has backed Moscow's extradition request for Russian citizen and suspected Bitcoin launderer Alexander Vinnik, The Greek Observer reports.
Greece's justice minister will make the final call whether he will be handed over to the USA or Russian Federation.
The decision is at odds with a ruling last week by a different panel of judges in the city of Thessaloniki, which had agreed to send Aleksandr Vinnik to the United States to face charges of laundering bitcoins through the BTC-e digital currency exchange to facilitate crimes ranging from computer hacking to drug trafficking. In Russia, Vinnik is accused of a 667,000-ruble ($11,500) fraud.
Vinnik was arrested in Greece in July.More news: Shkodran Mustafi: Arsenal defender ruled out for up to six weeks
Once the supreme court appeal is complete, Greece's minister of justice will ultimately decide which extradition to accept.
Russian Federation filed its extradition request for Vinnik after the US request, and has accused him of a lesser 667,000-ruble ($11,500) fraud which, if upheld in court, could draw a maximum prison sentence of six years.
In its ruling Wednesday, the court upheld the request from Russian Federation for Alexander Vinnik to return to his homeland and stand trial on lesser charges relating to alleged fraud worth 10,000 euros.
Vinnik has lodged an appeal against last week's decision favouring the USA request, and that case will be heard by the Greek supreme court.More news: First Industrial Realty Trust, (NYSE:FR) Sees Significantly Lower Trading Volume
According to USA authorities, Vinnik "stole identities, facilitated drug trafficking, and helped to launder criminal proceeds from syndicates around the world".
U.S. authorities accuse Vinnik of laundering 4 billion dollars' worth of bitcoins through BTC-e, one of the world's largest digital currency exchanges, which he allegedly operated.
The charges, if proved in court, carry maximum sentences of up to 20 years in prison.More news: EC to announce poll dates for Gujarat, Himachal
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