Austrian Court Denies U.S. Extradition Request of Ukrainian Billionaire
On April 30, an Austrian court refused the United States' request to extradite Ukrainian billionaire Dmitry V. Firtash on racketeering, bribery, money laundering, and other charges. In June 2013, a federal grand jury in Chicago returned a sealed indictment for Firtash and five others for their alleged participation in a racketeering conspiracy to bribe government officials in India to permit the mining of titanium materials. Five of the six defendants, including Firtash, were charged with conspiracy to violate the FCPA, among other offenses. Firtash was arrested in Austria in March 2014 and was released after he posted $174 million in bail. The grand jury's indictment was unsealed in April 2014. The Austrian court ruled that the United States' request was politically motivated and that there was not sufficient evidence to justify Firtash's extradition under the applicable treaty. In so ruling, the Austrian Judge explained from the bench: "America obviously saw Firtash as somebody who was threatening their economic interests . . . . There just wasn't sufficient proof." The DOJ has denied any political motivations and has appealed the ruling.