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Ivars Azuins Was Extradited to the United States, Charged with Wire and Securities Fraud

Early in 2021, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Ivars Auzins (29) with fraud. According to the allegations, between November 2017 and July 2019 Auzins received more than $7 million at his company Auzins Entities.

After receiving the funds (in cryptocurrencies), the company disappeared without providing the services it said to deliver. On 26 August Auzins was extradited to the United States.

The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Breon Peace and Michael J. Driscoll, the Assistant Director-In-Charge of the New York Field Office of the FBI made the following statement:

“Auzins perpetrated a brazen scheme in which he fleeced investors who funnelled millions of dollars into fraudulent cryptocurrency.

“This Office will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute those who lie and steal from investors, including those like the defendant who operate from abroad.”

Alexander Vinnik Extradited to the US
At the beginning of August Alexander Vinnik, the alleged operator of BTC-e was extradited from Greece to the US. Based on the allegations, Vinnik conducted business with drug dealers and ransomware hackers via the crypto exchange.

Vinnik was first arrested in Greece in 2017 due to a US warrant. Greece approved the extradition, however, as a European arrest warrant was issued, Vinnik was sent to France.

He was sentenced to 5 years for money laundering, identity theft and extortion. Upon his return to Greece, he immediately boarded another plane to the United States.

In July, the US withdrew its request to extradite Vinnik, hoping Greece will send the Russian to them upon his return (as the extradition was already approved by the Greek court).

Russia was outraged by Greece’s decision. The Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova released the following statement:

“We are outraged by the unfriendly actions of the Greek authorities, who, under pressure from the United States, who launched a real hunt for Russian citizens in third countries under far-fetched pretexts, extradited our compatriot Alexander Vinnik to the reprisal of American punitive justice.

“In violation of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963 and contrary to the official appeal of the Russian Embassy in Athens, consular officers of the diplomatic mission, his lawyer and interpreter were not allowed to visit the Russian.”


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