French court orders alleged crypto hacker Alexander Vinnik to serve five years in prison

Alexander Vinnik was sentenced on Monday to five years in prison for money laundering charges in France, where Vinnik allegedly participated in an organized criminal group.

French prosecutors also named Vinnik as one of the creators of ransomware that demanded that victims pay Bitcoin to free their computer. The crimes took place in Paris and other cities in France, in addition to the United States, according to the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and AFP.

Vinnik, a Russian citizen, was accused of a $160 million cryptocurrency fraud campaign and is still wanted in the United States and Russia, reports The Associated Press. Vinnik was cleared of extortion charges linked to a criminal enterprise, Vinnik’s lawyers say, and Vinnik denies any wrongdoings. 

In 2017, U.S. federal prosecutors charged Vinnik for stealing Bitcoin from exchanges. The United States sued Vinnik and BTC-e, a crypto exchange he co-owned that is now defunct, for $100 million after the exchange allegedly violated the Bank Secrecy Act last year, as The Block reported.

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