Lawyers for „Mr. Bitcoin“ appeal 5-year prison sentence

Alexander Vinnik is fighting back against his five-year prison sentence with legal appeals.

Defense lawyers for Alexander Vinnik, who allegedly engaged in large-scale money laundering via Bitcoin Up and was sentenced to five years in prison, are appealing the court’s ruling.

As revealed in a December 18 report by Russian news agency Kommersant, Vinnik’s lawyer Frederic Belot has now officially appealed the French court’s decision. He justifies this by saying that Vinnik was not involved in the money laundering of which he is accused.

In this regard, he refers to the December 6 verdict, which states that Vinnik was „involved in money laundering as part of an organized criminal group.“ However, Belot counters that a „criminal group“ cannot consist of only one person. Accordingly, he argues, „The court did not name another person to be part of this group.“

Rather, according to his lawyer, Vinnik was the victim of unknown „principals“ of the now-defunct crypto exchange BTC-e. His function as part of the trading platform remains unclear. Belot believes that Vinnik was „merely a full-time trader who did not intentionally launder money.“

Known as „Mr. Bitcoin,“ Vinnik is said to be the co-founder of a global crypto fraud scheme through which more than $4 billion in funds were laundered. Three years after his arrest in Greece, the verdict against Vinnik has been announced in early December 2020. Previously, the defendant had repeatedly denied his involvement in the illegal project.

US agency FinCEN seeks experts to fight crypto crime

FinCEN is looking to hire two experts to develop a strategy to combat crypto-crime.

The U.S. Treasury Department is looking to bring in cryptocurrency subject matter experts to better address the challenges of regulating the asset class.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), i.e. the department for combating financial crime, has accordingly published two job advertisements looking for experts in cryptocurrencies. First and foremost, these should bring expertise in the field of crypto-crime.

The job advertisements from December 12 advertise two full-time positions for experts who are familiar with financial crime through cryptocurrencies. They are expected to bring this expertise to „assist in the development of strategic countermeasures.“ In doing so, the new officers should be able to provide input on several specific topics, if possible.

As the law enforcement agency indicates, GS-14 and GS-13 officer positions require at least one year of experience at a similar level, in terms of service in a federal agency. According to FinCEN, the expected salary ranges from $102,663 to $157,709 per year.

FinCEN expects its new experts to be able to handle „extremely complex and sensitive assignments“ in the crypto-crime field, including, for example, advisory work for financial institutions.

With the job postings, the agency is showing that it is certainly open to feedback from the crypto industry, after the Ministry of Finance, which is its superior, recently came under criticism for a draft law that seeks to possibly „ban“ crypto wallets.

As reported in early December, the proposed bill would introduce new regulatory requirements for dealing with „self-managed“ wallets. On December 9, several members of the U.S. Parliament had subsequently spoken out against such a ban, seeing it as a threat to innovation.

Important heads of the crypto industry, such as Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire, have joined this opposition, as they see the planned law as not very effective.