A Paris court has found Vinnick guilty of money laundering and fined him 100.000 euros ($ 121.000). Vinnick was arrested in Greece in 2017 based on an international warrant issued by the US Department of Justice and issued in France earlier this year.
The Justice Department accused Vinnick of operating the BTC-e platform as cover for a massive money laundering operation that accepted stolen money from cyber attacks. Earlier, the security company Wizsec, had linked his private BTC-e accounts to money stolen from Mt. Gox. In this case, about $ 480 million worth of Bitcoin disappeared from the trading service in 2014 due to "system failures", as described by the CEO of Mt. Gox, Mark Karpeles.
The American DOJ has accused Vinnick of 17 counts of embezzlement of up to $ 4 billion since the platform was set up in 2011. Meanwhile, French prosecutors have accused him of "blackmail, conspiracy and damage to automated data processing systems". French authorities believe it helped create ransomware "Locky", Which was disseminated via email and used for attacks to French companies and organizations between 2016 and 2018. At least 20 entities in the country ended up paying a ransom in Bitcoin to regain control of their networks.
Vinnik's defense argued in court that he was only a technical operator receiving instructions from managers of BTC-e. The court ended up convicting him of money laundering, but this is not as tragic for Vinnick as it could be. In accordance with ZDNet, French prosecutors were able to prove only one of the 14 charges brought against him and it was not the one concerning Locky. This means that he was able to avoid the ten-year sentence and the 750.000-euro fine that the prosecutors had originally requested.