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Greek Court Approves Moscow's Second Request To Extradite Russian Cybercrime Suspect

Aleksandr Vinnik arrives at Greece's Supreme Court in Athens in December 2017.
Aleksandr Vinnik arrives at Greece's Supreme Court in Athens in December 2017.

A Greek court has approved a supplementary request from Moscow to extradite a Russian cybercrime suspect, who is also wanted in France and the United States.

Aleksandr Vinnik's lawyer, Ilias Spirliadis, said on July 30 that a court in Thessaloniki ruled in favor of Russia's request to take custody of the 39-year-old suspected of being involved in cyberattacks and a multibillion-dollar fraud.

Vinnik was first arrested in Greece last year on a U.S.-issued warrant. The same court ruled to extradite Vinnik to the United States in October, a ruling upheld by the Supreme Court in December. On July 13, the court also ruled to extradite Vinnik to France, which irked Moscow.

Greece's justice minister is expected to decide where Vinnik will be sent after examining the competing extradition requests from the three countries.

Vinnik, who has denied doing anything illegal, remains in jail in Greece pending the final decision on his extradition.

The ruling to extradite Vinnik to France came a day after authorities in Athens confirmed that two Russian diplomats were being expelled for allegedly providing funding to Greek groups opposed to a name deal with neighboring Macedonia that paved the way for the former Yugoslav republic to secure an invitation to join NATO.

Greece had been opposed to Macedonia's joining both the alliance and the European Union before the country changed its name for fear it might raise territorial claims on the historical Greek region of the same name.

France is seeking Vinnik for alleged cybercrime, money laundering, membership in a criminal organization, and extortion.

The Greek Supreme Court earlier approved Vinnik's extradition to the United States to stand trial for allegedly laundering billions of dollars using Bitcoin.

Greece's leftist prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, favors better ties between Russia and the European Union, and invited President Vladimir Putin to Greece two years ago, but Moscow and Athens disagree over Macedonia's goal to join NATO.

With reporting by TASS and Interfax
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