U.S. sues crypto exchange BTC-e and owner Alexander Vinnik for $100 million

The U.S. is suing cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e and one of its owners Alexander Vinnik to recover penalties of $100 million imposed by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network(FinCEN) for allegedly violating the Bank Secrecy Act.

In 2017, Vinnik was charged by federal prosecutors in San Francisco for stealing Bitcoins from other exchanges, per a Bloomberg report. He has been detained in Greece since July 2017, following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for money laundering and other charges. 

Meanwhile, even though the now-defunct BTC-e is based in Cyprus and Seychelles, customers within the U.S. have allegedly used the platform to conduct at least 21,000 bitcoin transactions, equivalent to over $296 million. However, BTC-e “made no effort to register with FinCEN, maintain any elements of an AML program, or report suspicious activity,” according to a court document filed to Northern District Court of California on July 25. 

Vinnik, a Russian national, is facing extradition requests from both the U.S. and Russia.