VIENNA An Austrian court authorized on Tuesday the extradition of Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash to the United States in a bribery situation, overturning an earlier ruling that experienced reported the U.S. request was politically enthusiastic.
Firtash, who denies the U.S. bribery allegations, is a previous supporter of Ukraine’s ousted professional-Russian president Viktor Yanukovich. Firtash built a fortune offering Russian gasoline to the Kiev government.
Minutes following Choose Leo Levnaic-Iwanski announced his extradition verdict to a packed courtroom, a spokeswoman for Austrian prosecutors reported Firtash experienced been detained on a European arrest warrant centered on a independent Spanish request.
The spokeswoman reported it was far too early to say if employing the European warrant might impact the extradition proceedings. She could give no aspects on the Spanish request, though Spanish media reported it associated to suspected funds laundering.
In the extradition situation, Choose Levnaic-Iwanski reported the United States experienced furnished additional paperwork to reinforce its situation from Firtash due to the fact the prior Austrian court ruling.
“This does not signify that any individual is becoming pre-judged as guilty, but fairly that it will be made a decision in a different place no matter whether they are guilty or harmless,” he reported.
A U.S. grand jury indicted Firtash in 2013, along with a member of India’s parliament and 4 many others, on suspicion of bribing Indian government officials to acquire access to minerals applied to make titanium-centered solutions.
Levnaic-Iwanski reported the U.S. fees from Firtash ended up fully of a prison character and not associated to politics. He included that the businessman, who was in the courtroom, would get a honest trial in the United States.
Speaking prior to Tuesday’s verdict, Firtash’s law firm Dieter Boehmdorfer reiterated the accusation that the United States was enthusiastic in the situation by political passions.
“We ought to not permit Austria to grow to be a stooge for the political planet electrical power the Usa,” Boehmdorfer informed the court, depicting Firtash as the victim of a U.S. method to limit Russian impact in Ukraine.
The U.S. embassy in Vienna experienced no fast comment.
Washington welcomed the ousting of Yanukovich amid mass road protests in February 2014 and has backed his professional-Western successor, Petro Poroshenko. Yanukovich now lives in exile in Russia.
“We will be taking all acceptable measures to appeal this determination – which include, in Austria by way of an appeal to the supreme court, as effectively as in Europe to the European Court docket of Human Rights,” Boehmdorfer reported in a assertion.
If an appeal ended up successful, Austrian Justice Minister Wolfgang Brandstetter could also overturn the extradition.
Questioned if he would stand in the way of extradition to Spain or the United States, Brandstetter informed broadcaster ORF that initial a court would have to review the Spanish situation and then the circumstance would be assessed.
Firtash, whose business worries in gasoline buying and selling and chemicals thrived underneath Yanukovich, has not returned to Ukraine due to the fact his preliminary detention in Vienna in March 2014. He paid a history bail of $one hundred twenty five million at the time.
Though his star has waned in Ukraine partly owing to his exile, Firtash retains impact many thanks to his portion-possession of Inter, a top rated Ukrainian tv channel, and his gasoline distribution and fertilizer organizations.
He is Ukraine’s 16th richest guy, with approximated prosperity of $251 million as of 2016, according to Forbes Ukraine.
(More reporting by Francois Murphy Modifying by Gareth Jones)