Despite regulators clamping down on malicious actors in the crypto industry, it has not deterred them from carrying out their malicious deeds. Recent news making the rounds has claimed that the legal team of an already convicted criminal that laundered funds through Bitcoin has moved to appeal his sentence. Alexander Vinnik was arrested for laundering massive amounts of money using the leading digital asset and was brought a court.
Sentencing him, the presiding judge slammed him with a jail term of five years. Going by a result that was released by a famous french news outlet, Kommersant, the legal team of Vinnik, headed by his attorney, Federico Belot has taken the recent decision to an appeal court.
Lawyer says his client is being framed
In his argument, Belot mentioned that his client has never been involved in any activity related to money laundering, especially the recent one that he was charged for. Slamming the sentence, Belot claimed that the presiding judge mentioned that evidence showed that his client was a part of a money-laundering criminal gang, a claim that is untrue because a just one person cannot make up a gang.
Belot said the reason why he was challenging the ruling was simply that the said evidence failed to mention any other person in the gang apart from his client. The lawyer also noted that the evidence claimed that the supposed gang used Bitcoin Casino, an online casino to launder the said funds. Belot said that the court failed to establish the fact that his client was a victim of circumstance as he was employed by people he never met to manage the online casino platform.
Officials say Vinnik could be connected to Mt. Gox hack
Belot also said that Vinnik, like everyone on the platform, was a trader and a gamer, but he didn’t know why the authorities are singling him out for prosecution. According to Belot, the court will have another sitting in the next four months, and they will decide if the appeal holds or not.
Famous lawyers have faulted the investigations surrounding the judgement as most of them have noted the involvement of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to reports at the time, Vinnik was asked to be extradited to his home country where he would suffer fewer consequences for his actions.
Vinnik was said to have defrauded slot of people of funds up to $11,000. Even though Russian authorities tried their best to get Vinnik back to the European country, the authorities moved him to France instead. After things are done in France, Vinnik will then be moved to the United States where he would face further sanctions if he is connected to the Mt. God hack attack that happened years ago. Officials have noted that some of the Bitcoin recovered from the online casino may have emanated from Mt. Gox.