MOSCOW, April 04. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian businessman Dmitry Firtash believes that the US request on his extradition is politically motivated. Firtash made this statement on his official website on April 3.
“Charges filed against me yesterday by the US Department of Justice are absurd and groundless. I’m sure these false accusations will be dropped,” the statement emphasizes. Firtash plans to “use all the legal means of defense and prove innocence.”
According to the businessman, Ukraine has become a field of confrontation “of the major geopolitical centers of influence of today’s world: the United States and Russia.” “I have found myself in the epicenter of this confrontation,” the businessman stated.
He assured the partners and personnel of his companies that despite the fact that Firtash was staying in Austria at the moment, the work of his DF Group was coordinated by the management.
Firtash charged with bribe scheme
Previous ITAR-TASS reports said that on April 2 Firtash was accused of giving a bribe to Indian officials for getting permissions for the development of titanium deposits in India. According to the US Department of Justice, a total of six people, including Firtash, Hungarian businessman Andras Knopp, Ukrainian citizen Suren Gevorgyan, Indian politician Ramachandra Rao and two businessmen from India and Sri Lanka are under investigation within the framework of the case of an international corruption scheme.
According to the investigation, some $18.5 million had been transferred to Indian officials since 2006 in exchange for a permission to mine minerals in India’s state of Andhra Pradesh. The mining project was expected to generate $500 million annually from selling titanium products. It was planned to sell part of produced titanium to the Chicago-based Company A.
The investigation suggests that Firtash conducted negotiations with Indian officials and gave instructions to transfer funds to them in exchange for preferences in issuing license permits. He also allegedly gave instructions to forge documents on the transfer of this money with the aim of disguising the illegal payments as ordinary commercial payments.
According to the US Department of Justice, this case is being investigated by the FBI’s Chicago Field Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant US Attorneys Amarjeet Bhachu and Michael Donovan of the Northern District of Illinois and Trial Attorney Ryan Rohlfsen of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Dmitry Firtash was arrested March 12, 2014, in Vienna, Austria, at the request of the US law enforcement agencies. Firtash was released from custody on March 21, 2014, after posting €125 million (approximately $174 million) bail, and he pledged to remain in Austria until the end of extradition proceedings.