Alexander Vinnik, the alleged former BTC-e crypto exchange operator, is going to stop eating according to a report in RIA Novosti. Vinnik was arrested in Greece while on vacation in 2017 at the behest of the US Justice Department. Vinnick has allegedly committed money laundering and fraud affiliated with his crypto activities.
Quoting one of Vinnik’s lawyers, the report explains:
“The court deprived Alexander Vinnik of the right to defense. The validity of the extradition warrant to France expired. The court judges him so because he is Russian, and this was stated by the lawyer. He faces an unjust life sentence. Vinnick is starting a hunger strike since Monday to protest the situation. He finds no other way out than justice or death. The question is this.”
Vinnik has apparently complained about the poor conditions of his ongoing incarceration. During a recent transport, Vinnik was said to have been handcuffed for an extended period of time which was described by his lawyer as torture. Additionally, the jail cuisine is said not to be to his liking.
As was previously reported, prosecutors have charged Vinnik with laundering $400 million in Bitcoins. There are accusations that Vinnik was involved in the Mt. Gox hack that saw 600,000 Bitcoins pilfered.
Vinnik has maintained his innocence claiming he was not in charge of BTC-e, just an employee. A Russian national, Vinnik has expressed his preference to be tried in Russia where he has been only charged with fraud. If he is extradited to the US, he is at risk of spending years in a federal penitentiary.