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Ukrainian oligarch Firtash says satisfied with Vienna court verdict

May 01, 2015, 8:38 UTC+3 VIENNA
The businessman was indicted in Chicago by a U.S. grand jury two years ago for allegedly paying off the officials through U.S. banks in a failed attempt to secure titanium mining rights in India
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© ITAR-TASS

VIENNA, May 1. /TASS/. Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash has said he was satisfied with the decision of the Vienna court, which on Friday turned down a U.S. request for his extradition to the United States. He also told reporters he intended to leave Austria soon and go to Ukraine.

"If they return the passport today - I’ll go today, if tomorrow - then tomorrow," he said. "The case is not over yet, the prosecutor filed with the highest court. I am happy with what has happened, I was sure that Austrian justice would be normal."

Firtash was indicted in Chicago by a U.S. grand jury two years ago for allegedly paying off the officials through U.S. banks in a failed attempt to secure titanium mining rights in India. Arrested a year ago in Vienna, Firtash posted bail of 125 million euro (nearly $140 million) shortly afterward, leaving him free but unable to leave Austria.

The businessman said that he was "very worried and scared" and was ready for any decision "because it is a political case." The verdict moved him so that he could not contain tears.

On Thursday, judge of the Vienna regional criminal court Christopher Bauer made 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, according to Ukrainian media, is Ukraine’s fourth richest person with a fortune of more than $3 billion. He got a significant part of his wealth from the supplies of Russian gas to Ukraine and countries of Central Europe. Firtash’s managing company is the Switzerland-based Group DF.

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