Austrian Supreme Court Affirms Lower Court’s Decision to Extradite Ukrainian Tycoon to U.S. on Corruption Charges

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Friday, June 28, 2019
Bruce Zagaris

On June 25, 2019, the Austrian Supreme Court affirmed a lower court’s decision granting a request from the United States government to extradite Ukrainian tycoon Dmytro Firtash, where a U.S. grand jury in Chicago has indicted him for bribery. In 2014, a federal grand jury in Chicago indicted Firtash for his alleged role in bribing Indian officials in an unsuccessful effort to obtain mining contracts that would put him in a position to furnish titanium to Boeing, a U.S. aviation company, which has its headquarters in Chicago.  In March 2014, Austrian authorities arrested Firtash some days after Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich fled to Russia after the Maidan Revolution deposed him. An Austrian lower court ruled Firtash can be extradited notwithstanding arguments by his lawyers that he is the victim of political “persecution” by the U.S., where he has never been. The interest of U.S. authorities in Firtash started in the early 2000s, after he appeared as a trusted and influential partner of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s administration in controlling the Ukrainian-Russian gas trade.