The Court of Cassation, France’s highest court, has dismissed Alexander Vinnik’s appeal, handing down a final sentence of five years in prison for money laundering to a Russian man who was suspected of being involved in cyber-attacks on bitcoin using the Locky ransomware.
Between 2016 and 2018, Oleksandr Vinnik caused about 5,700 casualties worldwide (200 in France) and caused damage estimated at almost 135 million euros in 2018.
On June 24, 2021, the Paris Court of Appeal sentenced him to five years in prison for “aggravated laundering” of funds extorted using the Locky ransomware.
On the other hand, he was acquitted of the cyberattacks themselves, the court held that there was no evidence of his responsibility “neither in the development nor in the distribution” of this malicious software that encrypted the data of computer systems, making it inaccessible unless you pay a ransom in cryptocurrency to get the decryption key.
“Having considered both the admissibility of the appeal and the procedural documents, the Court of Cassation finds that in this case there are no means of this kind that would allow the appeal to be accepted for consideration”, and therefore declares it “inadmissible”. “, the court said in a ruling on Wednesday.
In February, the Court of Cassation referred to the Constitutional Council the priority question of constitutionality (CPC), raised by lawyers of the Russian Fortieth Anniversary.
For the latter, the fact that “Article 695-11 of the Code of Criminal Procedure on the European Arrest Warrant does not give the judge the opportunity to verify the lawfulness of Mr. Vinnik’s deportation to Greece” constitutes “an invalid law.”
But the Constitutional Council ruled on April 22 that this CPC “does not need to be decided”, in particular because the challenged provisions appear in a different article of the CPC than the previous one.
After serving his sentence in France, Alexander Vinnik, who has always claimed to have “nothing to do” with the extortionist, is to be sent back to Greece to be extradited to the US. American justice suspects a Russian citizen of laundering several billion dollars through the BTC-e cryptocurrency exchange, the former largest laundering of the world’s dirty money.
Arrested during his holiday in Greece in 2017 on the basis of a US arrest warrant, he was handed over to French authorities at the end of January 2020 – Greek authorities are giving priority to a European warrant issued by Paris in 2018.
Alexander Vinnik is also claimed by Russia, which has charged him with petty fraud.