By NICOLAS VAUX-MONTAGNY, Related Press
PARIS (AP) — French prosecutors requested on Friday a 10-year jail time period and a nice of 750,000 euros ($888,634) towards Alexander Vinnik, who’s accused of being behind a 135 million-euro ($160 million) fraud marketing campaign that used ransomware and the cryptocurrency bitcoin.
The 41-year-old Russian, who can be wished in the USA and Russia, is dealing with in France prices of extortion, cash laundering and prison affiliation.
Paris prosecutor Johanna Brousse requested that Vinnik stay in jail.
A sequence of assaults on French companies and organizations between 2016 and 2018 led to twenty victims paying ransom calls for issued in bitcoin, one of many extra extensively used cryptocurrencies, by BTC-e, one of many world’s largest digital forex exchanges.
French prosecutors say Vinnik was one of many creators of the malicious software program referred to as “Locky” that was delivered by e-mail. If downloaded, the recipient’s information was encrypted and so they have been requested to pay ransom in bitcoin to free it.
Throughout an usually tense week of courtroom hearings in Paris, Vinnik’s essential line of protection was that he was solely a technical operator finishing up the directions of BTC-e administrators.
An investigator with the worldwide police group Interpol advised the courtroom that with the assistance of the U.S., which offered information from BTC-e, it appeared that a lot of the ransom funds have been despatched to an account that was linked to Vinnik,
Vinnik’s lawyer, Zoé Konstantopoulou, accused French prosecutors of being “ill-intentioned.”
“There was no French investigation. The Individuals mentioned: it’s Vinnik… and mentioned: ‘be certain that he’s being transferred to the U.S.,’” she advised the courtroom.
Vinnik, talking in Russian, mentioned “I’m not responsible, I don’t have any relation with ‘Locky’.”
He mentioned the investigation had been “botched” and that his rights weren’t being revered. “The Individuals handed over questionable paperwork to France,” he mentioned.
The decision will come at a later date.
Vinnik was arrested in the summertime of 2017 whereas on a household vacation in northern Greece, on the request of U.S. authorities. France, Russia and the USA had requested Greece earlier this yr to extradite him to France, in order that he could be inside the authorized borders of the European Union. He went on a starvation strike for 100 days whereas detained in Greece.
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