KIEV, May 1. /TASS/. Ukrainian billionaire Dmitry Firtash wants to return home, to Ukraine, the UKrainskiye Vedomosti said on Thursday.
Earlier on Thursday, judge of the Vienna regional criminal court Christopher Bauer to a decision to deny Firtash’s extradition. He said Firtash could leave Austria but must be within sight of the Austrian authorities. Firtash would have back his passport and would enjoy freedom of movement until plea agreement comes into force.
Firtash, 49, was arrested in Vienna on March 12, 2014 on the extradition request from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on suspicion of violating laws on bribery in the course of his foreign business deals. The Ukrainian oligarch was placed in a pre-trial detention center but was soon released without permission to leave Austria after posting a bail of 125 million euros, a record sum for the Austrian judicial practice.
A warrant for Firtash, one of Ukraine’s richest people, was issued by a district court of the U.S. state of Illinois in the summer of 2013. In early April, the United States accused him of bribing Indian officials to get permission for the development of titanium deposits in India.
No judicial proceedings were ever opened against Firtash in Austria, except the U.S. extradition request.
In case Firtash opts to leave Austria, the 125 million euro bail will be transferred to Austria’s budget.
According to Ukrainian mass media, Firtash is ranked fourth among Ukraine’s richest people with a wealth of more than three billion U.S. dollars. He is said to have made the bulk of his fortune on supplies of Russian gas to Ukraine and countries of Central Europe. Firtash’s managing company, Group DF, is headquartered in Switzerland.