Russian accused of money-laundering lobbying to be included in potential U.S.-Russian prisoner swap


lawyer Charges against Russian money launderers Detention centers in the U.S. are lobbying for their clients to be included in any potential U.S.-Russian prisoner swap in exchange for detained Wall Street Journal reporters Evan Gershkovichaccording to new court documents.

Russian man Alexander Vinnik has been charged with running a multibillion-dollar cryptocurrency exchange that allegedly did business with drug dealers and identity thieves. He was extradited from France to California last year.

Freeing Vinnik in exchange for efforts by Gershkovich, who was arrested in Russia in March in what U.S. officials say is a false espionage charge, shows how lawyers for detained Russians and Americans are full court to get theirs Clients are included in any case. Gershkovich and Paul Whelananother American detained in Russia.

On May 19, Vinnik’s attorneys argued in a court filing in San Francisco federal court that Vinnik’s plea to money laundering charges should “allow him to publicly advocate for his inclusion in the prisoner exchange program.” The motion asks the judge to overturn an order preventing Vinnik from discussing his case publicly.

“Many” people with knowledge of the U.S.-Russian prisoner swap negotiations told Vinnik’s attorneys that they should publicly lobby for his inclusion in the prisoner exchange “to maximize the chances of such an exchange,” Vinnik’s attorneys, Jodi Linker and David Rizk, in the filing wrote in.

wall street journal previously reported According to documents filed by Vinnik’s lawyers.

A Justice Department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the motion.

U.S. officials have condemned the arrests of Gershkovich and Whelan and have made frantic efforts to free them. But it’s unclear who might be included in any potential swap.

Vinnik was one of several names US officials had previously suggested to the Russians in discussions about a prisoner swap for Whelan, CNN Report in December.

But while the U.S. has detained multiple Russian cybercriminals, the Kremlin will not entertain them as part of a deal with Americans, current and former U.S. officials accused of espionage told before CNN.

WNBA star Brittney Griner was released from Russian detention in December in exchange for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

The Russian government often rushes to secure custody of citizens abroad accused of serious cybercrime before U.S. law enforcement strikes. U.S. prosecutors have been battling Russian authorities for years over the extradition of Vinnik, who was arrested in Greece in 2017 and subsequently extradited to France.

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