AFP, © SAKIS MITROLIDIS
Assumed BTC-e CEO Alexander Vinnik has publicly stated his innocence and even offered to help Vladimir Putin as a digital technology specialist.
Speaking to Russia Today in his first official interview since police arrested him in Greece in July, Vinnik said he did not understand “what right” the US had to judge him as a Russian citizen.
When asked why he had not voluntarily turned himself over to US authorities, Vinnik replied:
“Because I do not think I’ve done anything to flout the law – that’s the first thing. Secondly, I don’t understand what relationship the US has to me and what right it has to judge a Russian citizen.”
BTC-e shut down at the end of July citing technical difficulties. It subsequently became known that the FBI had liquidated 45 percent of its funds and that users would be issued refunds in the form of tokens and the remaining 55 percent of available capital.
The reason for US interest was the alleged flouting of anti-money laundering laws, with Vinnik himself suspected of engaging in such activities.
Continuing his defense, he said that US president Donald Trump should focus on his own matters while offering to help Russian president Putin in his field of expertise.
“I’d tell [Putin] he needs specialists like me in the IT field, and that I could help him with that using my knowledge,” he added.
The US is seeking fines of $110 mln from BTC-e and another $12 mln from Vinnik himself.