The co-founder of a crypto exchange called BTC-e and more importantly a Russian Citizen, Alexander Vinnik, is currently in custody in the United States. He is exploring the possibility of securing his release through a mechanism commonly referred to as a “prisoner swap.”
Based on a report published on May 24 by The Wall Street Journal, Vinnik’s legal representative is currently making efforts to modify a protective order related to his case. The objective is to present him as a potential candidate for a prisoner exchange agreement between Russia and the United States, wherein he could be exchanged for another detained individual.
Back in 2017, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed charges against Vinnik, accusing him of involvement in money laundering activities. Additionally, the agency claimed that Vinnik’s crypto exchange, BTC-e, has facilitated various illegal activities, including ransomware attacks, identity theft schemes, and drug trafficking.
In a statement, David Rizk, an Assistant Federal Defender in the Northern District of California, expressed the belief that Mr.Vinnik should have the opportunity to address the allegations made against him and publicly present his case for being considered in a prisoner swap.
According to an insider knowledgeable about the prisoner-swap procedures, Rizk stated that effective negotiation in such cases necessitates a robust public campaign to enhance the likelihood of a successful exchange.
In 2017, Vinnik was initially detained in Greece on charges of money laundering based on a US warrant. Later, in 2022, he was extradited to France.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Vinnik entered a plea of not guilty to the charges brought against him in the United States. He also refuted any claims of having control over the direction of the exchange.