LONDON (Reuters) -A British man wanted in the U.S. on money laundering and wire fraud charges linked to the fake cryptocurrency OneCoin on Thursday won his battle against extradition, with London’s High Court ruling he should face prosecution in Britain.
Christopher Hamilton, 64, was indicted by a New York grand jury in 2019 over his alleged role in a $4 billion Ponzi scheme that defrauded around 3.5 million people worldwide. He has previously denied wrongdoing.
OneCoin co-founder Karl Greenwood was jailed in New York for 20 years for fraud and money laundering in September.
Its other founder, Ruja Ignatova, who prosecutors say is also known as the “Cryptoqueen”, is on the FBI’s 10 most-wanted list and remains at large.
Hamilton’s extradition to the U.S. was approved last year, but his appeal against that decision was upheld on Thursday.
Judge Victoria Sharp said most of the alleged money laundering by Hamilton took place in the United Kingdom and that British police and prosecutors should investigate if Hamilton can face criminal charges in his home country.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had previously said Hamilton should be prosecuted in the U.S. rather than the UK.
City of London Police had closed its investigation in 2019 but, Sharp said, it had not identified “potentially critical incriminating evidence” later discovered by U.S. authorities that can now be used by British police.
“The consequence of the appellant’s success on this appeal is not that he secures impunity. It is that he should be answerable to the law in the UK rather than the U.S.”, Sharp concluded.
A CPS spokesperson said in a statement: “We are carefully considering the High Court’s judgment.”
Hamilton’s lawyers at Sonn Macmillan Walker declined to comment. City of London Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Sam TobinEditing by Bill Berkrot)