Top EU Court Rejects Extradition Appeal By Ukrainian Oligarch Firtash

The European Union’s top court turned away an appeal by Dmytro Firtash,
the latest twist for the Ukrainian oligarch whose extradition from
Austria the United States has been fighting for since his 2014 arrest in

The October 24 ruling by the EU Court of Justice paves the way for the
Austrian Supreme Court to hear Firtash’s challenge to the U.S.
extradition request.

If the Austrian Supreme Court rules for his extradition, a final decision will then be made by the country's justice minister.

A former business partner of President Donald Trump's ex-campaign
chairman, Paul Manafort, and one of Ukraine's wealthiest men, Firtash
has been charged in a U.S. federal court in Chicago, as part of an
alleged bribery scheme involving titanium supplies for aircraft giant

His case has seen several twists, including being rearrested in Vienna
on a Spanish warrant in February 2017, just minutes after an Austrian
court cleared the way for his U.S. extradition.

It’s unclear when the Austrian Supreme Court will hear the case.

However, his lead U.S. lawyer, former federal prosecutor Dan Webb, told
the Chicago federal court earlier this month that it was believed "that
the Austrian Supreme Court will move quickly and Mr. Firtash could face
extradition in a short time frame following the decision by the Court of

Firtash, who has denied the charges, has been out on bail since shortly
after his arrest, but barred from leaving Austria. His lawyers had
argued that the U.S. prosecution was politically motivated.

Firtash’s wealth stems in large part from the lucrative natural gas
trade in Ukraine, whose pipelines have long served as the key conduit
for Russian gas supplies heading to Western Europe.

He is also considered an important financier of the Party of Regions
political party, and was involved in hiring Manafort, then a U.S.
political consultant and lobbyist, in 2005 to help rebuild the party
after its then-leader, Viktor Yanukovych, was defeated for the
presidency by Viktor Yushchenko following the 2004 Orange Revolution.

Firtash also had a brief partnership with Manafort in 2008 to invest in
New York City real estate, although that deal never materialized.

Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman in 2016, until he was fired that
August, amid revelations about his extensive work in Ukraine.

After a jury convicted him of bank and tax fraud in August, Manafort
decided to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his
sprawling investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections
and interactions between Trump associates and Russian officials.

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