Owner of one of the first Bitcoin brokers in the world sentenced to 5 years in prison

The Russian denies the charges and his lawyers are evaluating the possibility of appeal.

According to the defense, he is being arrested for being „a blockchain genius“ and being seen as a „threat to the global financial system.

The founder of the now defunct Bitcoin Circuit brokerage house, BTC-e, was sentenced to five years in prison for money laundering. The brokerage house is one of the first in the world, having started its activities in 2011 and lasted until July 2017, when Alexander Vinnik was arrested on suspicion of several crimes.

The Russian was arrested in 2017 in a resort near Thessaloniki, Greece, Russia and the U.S. requested Alexander’s extradition, but he was eventually convicted in France on Monday (07).

After the Russian was arrested, the brokerage company went off the air and the domain was confiscated by the FBI. The platform was restarted under the name WEX, but the site also went off the air after a year.

The US still wants to judge Alexander. But since he has already been judged in France, the issue can get difficult. Maybe the authorities in the country just want to get their hands on his thousands of bitcoins hidden somewhere.

BTC-e was a brokerage firm that anyone could trade without the need to identify themselves. That was the main reason several authorities investigated the deal. The company’s founder was also responsible for everything that happened on the platform.

According to the Russian BBC, the French court found Alexander guilty of money laundering, being part of a „criminal organization“ and „providing false information about the origin of the resources“.

For his crimes, the Russian was sentenced to five years in prison and will have to pay a fine of 100,000 euros (R$ 617,000).
Ransomware

The owner of Bitcoin’s brokerage house is also accused of extortion, conspiracy and operating a ransomware known as Locky, but the court decided to drop these charges.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has claimed that the Russian was responsible for laundering over $4 billion. He was also indicted by the DOJ for „computer hacking, ransomware scams, identity theft schemes“ and other hacker attacks.

He is accused of being behind a 135 million euro ($160 million) ransomware and Bitcoin scam.

French prosecutors say the Russian created the „Locky“ ransomware. The victims were instructed to pay the required bitcoin ransom through their own broker, BTC-e.

Alexander denies the charges and his lawyers are evaluating the possibility of appeal.  According to his lawyers, he is being arrested for being a „blockchain genius“ and being seen as a „threat to the global financial system.

Vinnik’s defense also said he was a simple BTC-e employee and not responsible for any malicious software schemes.

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