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Mastermind accused of laundering $4 billion through fake currency Bitcoin

Staff Writer |
A Russian suspected of masterminding a money-laundering operation using bitcoin appeared in a Greek court for a hearing to consider his extradition to the United States.

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Alexander Vinnik was arrested in a hotel in northern Greece in late July on a U.S. warrant.

Russia has since also requested his extradition on separate fraud charges, his lawyer Xanthippi Moisidou said.

The U.S. Justice Department says Vinnik facilitated crimes since 2011 including computer hacking, fraud and drug trafficking by laundering at least $4 billion through BTC-e, an exchange used to trade bitcoin and other digital currencies.

Vinnik, who was escorted handcuffed through the back door of a Thessaloniki court, denies any wrongdoing. If extradited to the United States, he faces up to 55 years in prison.

He is one of seven Russians arrested or indicted on U.S. cyber crime charges this year.

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