BTC-e founder Alexander Vinnik, who is currently serving a five-year sentence in France for money laundering, is seeking a prisoner swap deal for detained Wall Street Journal (WSJ) journalist, Dion Nissenbaum, according to a report by The Daily Beast. Nissenbaum was detained in Turkey in 2016 and has been held without trial since then.
Vinnik’s lawyer, Fr?d?ric B?lot, has reportedly sent a letter to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) requesting a prisoner swap deal for Nissenbaum. In the letter, B?lot claims that Vinnik is willing to be extradited to the US in exchange for Nissenbaum’s release.
Nissenbaum, a US citizen, was detained in Turkey while reporting on the conflict in Syria. He was accused of “violating a military zone” and “spying” and has been held without trial for over four years. The WSJ has denied the accusations and called for Nissenbaum’s release.
Vinnik’s Legal Troubles
Vinnik was arrested in Greece in 2017 at the request of the US government, which accused him of running a money laundering operation that processed over $4 billion in Bitcoin. He was later extradited to France, where he was convicted of money laundering and sentenced to five years in prison. Vinnik has denied the charges and claims that he was only a technical consultant for BTC-e.
It remains to be seen whether the US government will agree to Vinnik’s request for a prisoner swap deal. However, the case highlights the ongoing legal troubles faced by both Vinnik and Nissenbaum, as well as the challenges faced by journalists reporting on conflicts in the Middle East.