Vienna Higher Regional Court denies Firtash extradition to Spain

Vienna Higher Regional Court denies Firtash extradition to Spain

Vienna Higher Regional Court on December 19 rejected a counterclaim from the Vienna prosecutors and upheld the decision of Vienna's Regional Court dated August 29, 2017 that rejected a request of the Spanish law enforcement agencies to extradite Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash, Austria's Kurier publication has reported.

"The decision is final," the newspaper said.

According to the newspaper, the court made the decision due to formal reasons, as the Spanish judiciary did not manage to convey the basic cornerstones of the alleged crimes, such as the time of the crime and the crime scene.

As reported, Chairman of Group DF Dmytro Firtash was arrested in Austria on March 12, 2014 at the request of U.S. authorities. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the accused attempted to pay a bribe worth $18.5 million to receive a permit for mining operations in India. Firtash denied all charges and called them politically motivated, aimed at limiting his influence on the processes in Ukraine.

The Vienna Regional Court for Criminal Matters ruled on Firtash's extradition-related arrest but then decided to release him on EUR 125 million bail on condition he would not leave Austria. On April 30, 2015, the same court ruled not to extradite Firtash to the United States. In September 2015, the Vienna Public Prosecutor's Office (Austria) filed an appeal against this decision, and on February 21, 2017, the Vienna Higher Regional Court satisfied it.

However, the final decision on extradition depends on the Austrian Federal Minister of Justice, which was awaiting the completion of consideration of another request for the extradition of Firtash from Spain, by which he was detained by the Vienna Prosecutor's Office immediately after the appeal court hearing on February 21, 2017. On February 23, the Regional Court dismissed the businessman under the obligation to regularly appear in court and to not leave the territory of Austria, and considering the bail of EUR 125 million on the extradition case in the United States. After his release from the detention center, Firtash once again said that he was not guilty, and called the U.S. and Spain's requests part of the campaign of his political persecution.