back to article Greek police arrest chap accused of laundering $4bn of Bitcoin

Police in Greece have arrested a Russian national they accuse of running the BTC-e Bitcoin exchange to launder more than US$4bn worth of the cryptocurrency. According to Greek language news outlet the Daily Thess, FBI agents tracked 38-year-old Alexander Vinnik for more than a year before his arrest. Another local outlet, …

  1. scarletherring

    So, BTC-e is registered in London, Mt Gox in Japan, and this is a Russian national. And yet, "The US will now begin extradition proceedings against Vinnik."

    I realize the US believes its jurisdiction covers the entire planet, but on what pretense in this case?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward



  2. monty75

    According to this ( BTC-e had servers in the US and at least one of the charges is under regulations which "apply to foreign-based money transmitting business doing substantial business in the US"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And? If I'm gay and in Greece, can I be extradited to Saudi Arabia?

      1. monty75

        I don't make the rules. I was just answering the question as to what makes them think they have jurisdiction. You're welcome to be as gay as you like, wherever you like as far as I'm concerned.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Well, there aren't "the" rules, are there? Those are just the US rules, why should they apply in Greece?

          1. Chichicaste

            well, if you touch a server located in the US or/and you use a bank that make business with USA(pretty much all of them around the world) or you use a card that says: VISA, American Express, Master Card, then you are doing business with USA LAW

      2. Phil Endecott

        > If I'm gay and in Greece, can I be extradited to Saudi Arabia?

        No, because extradition treaties require that the alledged crime is a crime in both countries.

      3. Chichicaste

        Well, the US will ask for your "ass" to be extradited to San Francisco

  3. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Although there has clearly been a criminal offense it goes to show how if your operating a internet based business it is best not to have any data stored on servers based in the US if the service you offer could possibly fall foul of US law or the world police will be coming for you

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well the US are hardly going to wait for the UK to do something - the City is not what you would call enthusiastic about pursuing financial skulduggery / shenanigans / incompetence.

  5. CustardGannet


    For that much money, surely you can buy the whole of Greece, declare yourself president and grant yourself a pardon.

    1. Tom 38

      Re: $4 BEEEELLION ?

      I'm not humourless, but Greek GDP is $194 billion and they have debts of ~$350 billion, you'll need a lot more to buy your way out

    2. David Bond

      Re: $4 BEEEELLION ?

      The thing is with that $4 beeeeelion its headline grabbing crap. The $4 billion is the incorrectly estimated value of all the bitcoin that has entered BTC-e at half the current days value. So the 1000's of bitcoins that were transferred in 2011 at a value of what $5 each are counted as having a value of ~$1200 each. Also all of that money wasn't being laundered, it was people using the exchange, selling their bitcoins. In the warrant only around $200000 is actually mentioned with specific transfers.

      What they are getting him for really is running an unregistered exchange / money transfer company that accepted money from the US. Which if you go into technicalities, they never did, BTC-e didn't accept direct money transfers only money from transfer companies, or the dodgy part a shell company account.

  6. ma1010

    This is the problem with globalization, isn't it?

    If this person is guilty of helping launder stolen funds from Mt. Gox, I'd say he's guilty of a serious crime. If all this is true, then he should be tried SOMEWHERE, should he not? If I live in Bulgaria and write ransomware and steal money from people in, say Brazil, Mexico, the U.S.A. and Canada, what should happen to me? Who prosecutes me? Anyone? No one?

    The problem is we don't really have any worldwide laws about this kind of thing or worldwide justice system where these miscreants could be tried and punished. Perhaps the world should start putting together some sort of mechanism like that? Until that happens, it's a case of whichever nation wants to step up and try to apprehend and punish the guilty, sort of international vigilante justice. The U.S. tends to do that more than most, so we get a lot of criticism. Other than just ignoring the crimes, what's the alternative right now, until some international system is in place?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I had some money in that exchange (a little under one bitcoin). I suppose it's gone for good, more likely than not. Seems very unfair that the FBI was following this guy for a year and did nothing to warn customers. I had no reason to believe they were involved in anything criminal. Not sure if the feds shut it down or what, but it's currently "under maintenance", I hardly think that's a coincidence.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shit

      I had money in there too, my theory is, after he was arrested the other admins shut down the site, took backups and wiped the servers. They are now setting up a new location. They also moved all the cryptos to other wallets so that the fbi couldn't get access to them. Not sure about the bank accounts. That is if they do come back in 5-10 days. Or they have given the fbi access to the servers for info gathering. If the FBI had taken it down I would think it would have an FBI seisure notice on it.

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