Alexander Vinnik’s Greek lawyer, Zoé Konstantopoúlou, goes on a string of scandals at regular intervals. In this stormy climate, it is difficult to hear what the accused can say about the facts with which he is accused, and it is increasingly difficult to believe that the court and the civil parties will obtain from the trial the answers that they came looking. But sometimes the audience regains a semblance of normality, giving Alexander Vinnik the opportunity to express himself.
Wednesday evening, long discussion of the emails attributed to Alexander Vinnik. The defense disputes this attribution but several e-mails in his name and his passport were found on the devices seized at the time of his arrest. The President gave the floor to the Deputy Prosecutor, Johanna Brousse, for questions. Alexander Vinnik speaks through his interpreter, who translates his answers.
Johanna Brousse: How do you explain the evidence against you, which was found in your computer, in your mobile phone, on the blockchain and in the logs of BTC-e?
Alexander Vinnik: This is not evidence. I can possibly explain how my data ended up on certain media: the platform provided me with a phone and a work computer. That doesn’t mean I can’t use these devices for personal use.
JB: On my personal computer, there are no traces of connection to an account that laundered Locky’s ransoms.
AV: The first explanation is that I am Russian. The second is that the United States and Europe do not like Russia. The third: when the United States began to sanction Russia, we suffered. But Russia started to make progress in the technological field, and the United States did not appreciate it. They can’t target Russian politicians because of diplomatic immunity, so they decided to influence Russia by targeting ordinary citizens. In 2016, the United States took hostage about 40 Russian citizens involved in the IT field. I am a victim of this hostage-taking.
JB: But why you in particular?
AV: Maybe they consider me to have unique knowledge, or maybe I have become an enemy of America. I may have been over-cautious in speaking on cryptocurrency forums on how to break out of dollar hegemony.
JB: What is the state of your financial assets?
AV: I have no assets and I have a lot of debt. Medical operations are expensive (Vinnik has repeatedly mentioned his wife, ill, and whom he has not been able to see since his arrest, Editor’s note).
JB: We have seen a lot of seized money that is allocated to you in other countries and not just in the United States. In particular, there have been seizures in Belize and in several companies.
AV: If it was true that I was so rich, why would I be here in this box? You know what they say, if you steal a little money you go to jail, but if you steal a lot of it you are an oligarch. If I had so much money, why am I still in prison? Do you think I just want to save money by staying in jail? I don’t mean to be rude or hurt you for being a prosecutor, but it’s the truth of life.
JB: But who owned those billions if not you then?
AV: I will not do the job for you. From my point of view, the investigators did not do the right thing.