Trial of Russian in alleged bitcoin fraud to wrap in Paris

A court in Paris is wrapping up a trial against Alexander Vinnik, who is accused of using software attacks in a 135 million-euro ($160 million) fraud using the cryptocurrency bitcoin

PARIS — A court in Paris is wrapping up a trial Friday against Alexander Vinnik, who is accused of using ransomware in a 135 million-euro ($160 million) fraud using the cryptocurrency bitcoin.

A series of attacks on French businesses and organizations between 2016 and 2018 led to 20 victims paying ransom demands issued in bitcoin, one of the more widely used cryptocurrencies.

French prosecutors say Vinnik was one of the creators of the malicious software called “Locky” that was delivered through email. If downloaded, the recipient’s data was encrypted and they were asked to pay ransom in bitcoin to free it.

During an often tense week of court hearings, Vinnik’s main line of defense was that he was only a technical operator carrying out the instructions of directors.

The verdict will come at a later date.

Vinnik went on hunger strike for 100 days while detained in Greece, he said, “to draw attention to our problems and the violation of my rights.” He said he had been hospitalized “after having passed from 82 to 56 kg.”

source.

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