Estonian government overrules court block, allows extradition of HashFlare duo

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The Estonian government has overruled and approved the extradition of HashFlare founders to the U.S. despite a prior block by the Tallinn court.

Estonia has given the green light to extradite to the U.S. two Estonian crypto entrepreneurs behind HashFlare, a $575 million Ponzi scheme, according to a report from a local news outlet Potimees.

This decision follows the Tallinn Circuit Court’s block in November 2023, where it criticized the Estonian government for failing to thoroughly investigate essential circumstances in the extradition decision involving Ivan Turogin and Sergei Potapenko. The U.S. authorities accuse them of laundering $575 million of clients’ funds for the purchase of real estate and luxury cars.

Estonia’s Ministry of Justice, after a comprehensive review, has now determined that sufficient evidence has been gathered, ensuring that the extradition does not disproportionately infringe on the fundamental rights of the individuals. However, the specific timeline for the extradition of Potapenko and Turogin to the U.S. to face fraud charges remains unclear.

Turogin and Potapenko were arrested in Estonia in November 2022 following a written request from the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), seeking their extradition. The indictment alleges that the duo deceived victims into purchasing fraudulent equipment rental contracts with the crypto mining service HashFlare and investing in a crypto bank named Polybius Bank.

Prosecutors claim that both businesses operated a Ponzi scheme. According to the DoJ, Potapenko and Turogin used shell companies to launder $575 million of clients’ money.

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