Greek court rules to extradite Russian national Vinnik to France

Greek court rules to extradite Russian national Vinnik to France

He was arrested in Greece a year ago on a USA issued warrant.

The Kremlin accused Washington on Friday (13 July) of being behind the Greek government's decision to expel two Russian diplomats who had allegedly tried to derail a deal resolving Greece's name dispute with neighbouring Macedonia.

Vinnik was arrested in 2017 while he was vacationing in Greece with 21 criminal charges leveled against him.

Greece has expelled two Russian diplomats for funding the protesters groups opposed to the agreement with Macedonia about the name change, reports AP, citing sources in the Greek government.

Reacting to the Greek announcement on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry told AFP: "Tit-for-tat measures will be taken, as is always the case in such situations". "It is obvious that Russian Federation can not leave these actions unanswered".

At the NATO Summit on 12 July, the 29 leaders of the Alliance invited FYROM to start accession talks, triggering a strong reaction from Russian Federation, which accused NATO of trying to "forcibly swallow" Skopje in order to expand its influence in the Balkans.

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Greece reached an accord last month with its tiny northern neighbor to resolve a dispute over the former Yugoslav republic's name, which had prevented Macedonia from joining North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union for decades. Vinnik has denied doing anything illegal.

Greece's justice minister is expected to decide where Vinnik will be sent after examining the competing extradition requests from France, Russia, and the United States. He remains jailed in Greece pending the final decisions on his extradition.

France is seeking the 38-year-old for alleged cybercrime, money laundering, membership in a criminal organization and extortion.

Before the Supreme court of Greece has already approved the extradition of a citizen of the United States, where he is accused of laundering billions of dollars through bitcoins.

French authorities indicted Alexander Vinnik following an investigation that described him as the operator of BTC-e exchange, which was allegedly used to launder more than 130 million euros for people involved in crimes ranging from computer hacking to drug trafficking.

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