Russia Probes Billion-Dollar Fraud Based on Testimony of Bitcoin Hacker - Source

© AP Photo / Giannis PapanikosA Russian man identified as Alexander Vinnik, center, is escorted by police officers to the courthouse at the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017
A Russian man identified as Alexander Vinnik, center, is escorted by police officers to the courthouse at the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 - Sputnik International
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Russia has opened a criminal inquiry into confessions by Alexander Vinnik, a Russian national held in a Greek jail at a US request related to money-laundering charges, a source privy to the matter told Sputnik.

"Vinnik wrote several confession letters to Russian law enforcement agencies, pleading guilty to crimes related to financial technologies. The Russian Interior Ministry’s investigative department has opened a criminal probe into several unknowns," the source familiar with the matter said.

Vinnik wrote four letters since March to Russia’s interior minister, the ministry’s chief investigator and the attorney general, confessing his crimes, the source said, and offering to assist in the inquiry.

Alexander Vinnik, a 38 year old Russian man suspected of running a money laundering operation using bitcoin, is escorted by police officers while leaving a court in Thessaloniki, Greece, October 4, 2017 - Sputnik International
Greece Violates Treaty With Russia by Extraditing Vinnik to US - Civic Chamber
The suspect was detained in Greece after the United States accused him of laundering between $4 billion and $9 billion on a bitcoin trading platform.

He has been cleared for extradition to both the United States and Russia. The final decision is up to the Greek justice minister. The suspect has repeatedly said he wanted to be deported to Russia.

In a surprise development, a source told Sputnik on Thursday that Greek prison authorities had thwarted an attempt on Vinnik’s life. There was apparently a plot to poison him while he was being held in the Thessaloniki jail. His security has since been bolstered and he is banned from contacting other inmates or receiving food or beverages from unknowns.

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