France charges bitcoin expert Vinnik with money laundering

French investigators are questioning a bitcoin fraud suspect after he was extradited from Greece

Vinnik, 39, was arrested in the summer of 2017 while on a family holiday in northern Greece, at the request of U.S. authorities. Vinnik says says he acted as a technical consultant to the BTC-e platform and had no knowledge of any illegal activity.

The judges handed him preliminary charges of extortion, money laundering and organized crime activity, the official said Friday. Preliminary charges allow magistrates further time to investigate. Vinnik will remain in custody in the meantime.

Vinnik's Greek lawyer, Zoi Konstandopoulou, said her client was hospitalized upon arrival in France because of the hunger strike. Vinnik's French lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.

Greek authorities ruled that Vinnik should be extradited first to France, then to the U.S. and finally to Russia.