Today, 21 February, in Vienna (Austria) hosted the trial of Ukrainian businessman Firtash Dmitiri. The higher regional court of Vienna considered the appeal of the US Department of justice on the refusal of Austria to extradite Ukrainian businessman in the United States.
Chairman of the Board of Group DF Group of companies Dmitry Firtash was arrested in Austria on March 12, 2014 at the request of U.S. authorities. In the warrant for the arrest of U.S. businessman accused of bribing Indian politicians with the purpose of obtaining valuable mining licenses of iron ore mineral oxide ilmenite.
The Vienna regional court for criminal cases elected him a measure of restraint in the form of the extradition arrest, but agreed to release on bail of 125 million euros and the obligation not to leave Austria.
April 30, 2015, the same court rejected the request of the U.S. justice Department on the extradition of Firtash to America.
Segodnyashnem the court hearing the prosecution stated that do not see political motive in charges against Ukrainian businessman. In turn, the lawyer of the businessman Christian Hausmaninger said that the case against Firtash is completely political, and contrary to the Prosecutor’s office of Austria.
According to him, the statements of the prosecution that the case is not political and is associated supposedly with the Russian mafia, is unfounded speculation.
In addition, as stated by the defender of the entrepreneur, net policy in this case is seen in Ukraine.
“Dmitry Firtash trying to prevent to return to the country, the interior Minister puts soldiers at Boryspil airport trying to make his return dangerous,” said Hausmaninger.
The ex-Minister of justice of Austria and the lawyer Firtash Dieter Baudier stressed that the case against his client is the reputation of Austria as a democracy in particular, and also the reputation of the Austrian justice.
In addition, Bandier told why the US was important to stop his client as a politician and businessman. According to the lawyer, the Titan contract is of strategic importance to the United States. The second factor is the work of Firtash’s companies of Russia. According to the lawyer, that is why the extradition procedure interested the US state Department.
“Austria must not become a hostage to world leader – the USA. No need to follow the slogan: America – first,” said Bandier in the court in Vienna.
“None of the evidence submitted by the American side, there is no evidence against Firtash – in the deciphering of telephone conversations, nor in the text of the correspondence,” – said in turn, the lawyer of Dmytro Firtash Rudiger Sender at the hearing.
According to him, the American documents contain clear wording of the corpus delicti of the Ukrainian businessman.
The sender also said that there are a number of inconsistencies in the testimony of the Indian officials in relation to the fact of possible bribery on the part of Dmitry Firtash’s structures.
“The Indian side has previously worked with other third-party firm is suspected of misuse of funds by the Indian officials,” said Sender.
Lawyer Firtash noted that from the point of view of the Austrian justice, the American side about the results of a Ukrainian citizen, accused of committing crimes in Indiais absurd.
The court’s decision
The higher regional court of Vienna (Austria) allowed the extradition of the Ukrainian businessman in the United States. Thus, the court satisfied the request of Prosecutor’s office, representing the interests of Washington.
“We are not saying that Mr. Firtash’s guilty, we just say that the extradition is permissible” – said the President of the court.
He noted that in its decision, the court relies on the extradition Treaty between the United States and Austria as well as between the EU and the USA.
However, onfinal decision on the extradition of Firtash will be taken by the Ministry of justice of Austria.
As explained by judge Leo Lineic-Ivanski, USA presented documents on which basis the court considers that it can be assumed that the accused could have committed the crime. First of all, it is the testimony of two witnesses – Indian officials about “rebuilding the pockets of employees.”
The judge added that if there are differences in the testimony of witnesses, as stated by the defense the accused, the court must give an opportunity to investigate it in the United States.
“We’re not here investigating the case. It is not within our competence”, – said the Austrian judge.
The future of the case against Firtash
Firtash himself simply commented on the decision of the Austrian court.
“Nothing, we will fight. One-to-one”, – said the Ukrainian businessman coming out of the courtroom.
However, the judge noted that the extradition of Firtash in the USA does not mean that there are guaranteed waiting period – it is likely that the entrepreneur will meet.
“It is possible that in the United States will take a decision on termination of proceedings or acquittal,” said he.
As emphasized by the President of the court, America is a democratic state, in which the accused was not involved in politics. Therefore, the political motivation for the trial does not seem to be relevant.
In this case the property of Ukrainian businessman in Europe is subject to the laws on the protection of human rights, said the judge.
“As for the question about the threat of seizure of property accused, we proceeded from the fact that in the US he does not have some property, and his property in Europe is subject to the laws on the protection of human rights”, – said Lineic-Ivanski.