London, Dec 8 (IANS) The founder of now-defunct BTC-e cryptocurrency Alexander Vinnik has been sent to five year in prison along with a fine of 100,000 euros for laundering funds for cybercriminals, including ransomware groups, the media reported on Tuesday.
A French court sent Alexander Vinnik, 41, a Russian national, sent him to jail. The prosecutors, however, failed to prove that the BTC-e founder was directly involved in the creation and distribution of Locky, a ransomware that was active in 2016 and 2017, reports ZDNet.
The US authorities had said earlier that Vinnik operated BTC-e as a front company for a money-laundering operation, knowingly receiving funds from hacks and other forms of cybercrime.
“Mr Vinnik, the court acquitted you of the offenses relating to the cyber-attacks linked to Locky, as well as the offenses of extortion and association to criminal activities, but finds you guilty of organized money laundering,” the French judge said.
He was arrested in July 2017 while vacationing in a summer resort in northern Greece.
As soon as Vinnik’s arrest became public, Russian authorities also filed an extradition request of their own, claiming that Vinnik was also a suspect in an investigation in Russia in relation to a 2013 fraud charge.
“The BTC-e founder currently remains under arrest, and both the US and Russia have filed new extradition requests with France, still hoping to get Vinnik to face charges in their respective jurisdictions,” the report said.
The US authorities alleged that Vinnik’s BTC-e platform helped criminals launder more than $4 billion in illegal funds.