A Russian bitcoin professional was sentenced in Paris to 5 years in jail for cash laundering and ordered to greater than $120,000 in fines in a case of suspected cryptocurrency fraud
PARIS — A Russian bitcoin professional on the heart of a multi-country authorized tussle was sentenced in Paris on Monday to 5 years in jail for cash laundering and ordered to pay 100,000 euros (greater than $120,000) in fines in a case of suspected cryptocurrency fraud.
A court docket acquitted Alexander Vinnik of expenses of extortion and affiliation with a prison enterprise, based on his attorneys. Vinnik denies wrongdoing, and his attorneys are discussing whether or not to attraction.
Vinnik, 41, can also be wished in america and Russia. He was accused of being behind a 135 million-euro ($160 million) fraud marketing campaign that used ransomware and the cryptocurrency bitcoin.
French prosecutors say Vinnik was one of many creators of a malicious software program known as “Locky” that was delivered by e mail. If downloaded, the recipient’s knowledge was encrypted and so they had been requested to pay ransom in bitcoin to free it.
A sequence of such assaults on French companies and organizations between 2016 and 2018 led to twenty victims paying ransom calls for issued in bitcoin, one of many extra broadly used cryptocurrencies, by BTC-e, one of many world’s largest digital forex exchanges.
At his trial, Vinnik’s fundamental line of protection was that he was solely a technical operator finishing up the directions of BTC-e administrators.
The court docket convicted Vinnik of cash laundering however did not discover sufficient proof to convict him of extortion, and stopped wanting the 10-year jail time period and 750,000 euros in fines that prosecutors had requested.
Certainly one of his French attorneys, Ariane Zimra, mentioned his conviction for cash laundering “doesn’t make sense,” arguing that cryptocurrency isn’t legally thought-about “cash.”
Vinnik was arrested whereas on trip in Greece and transferred to France earlier this yr.