Austria court orders review of Firtash extradition case after reversal in oligarch's favor
The Higher Regional Court of Vienna ruled in favor of Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash in the case of extradition to the United States, authorizing a retrial of this issue, reads the press release of the court, which is quoted by the Austrian news media.
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REFERENCE. The United States suspects Firtash of paying $18.5 million in bribes to Indian officials to obtain permission to develop titanium deposits in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The titanium products were later planned to be sold to Boeing, one of the world's largest manufacturers of aviation equipment.
Firtash denies all the charges.
In 2014, Firtash was arrested in Vienna at the U.S. request. Until 2019, the billionaire exhausted all judicial avenues in Austria, unsuccessfully seeking to block his extradition.
In July 2019, Austria's Justice Minister authorized Firtash's extradition but it did not occur immediately. The defense requested a retrial, prompting the District Criminal Judge of Vienna judge to suspend extradition.
The defense argues Firtash's U.S. prosecution has a "political" motive.
On March 16, 2022, the Regional Criminal Court of Vienna denied Firtash a retrial but he appealed successfully.
Oligarch's Group DF said the Austrian court's decision was "expected and absolutely fair".
Firtash's lawyer Dieter Böhmdorfer said: "Dmytro Firtash is grateful...for ordering a retrial based on new facts...During protracted court proceedings, Firtash and his family found themselves in a difficult situation. However, he never doubted Austrian justice's objectivity and independence."
On May 15, 2023, Firtash was charged by Ukraine's Security Service and Economic Security Bureau. The investigation accuses him of a gas scheme that allegedly caused UAH 18 billion ($488 million) in losses.
Group DF considers the criminal case against Firtash and his top managers pressure on business.