As reported by Censor.NET citing Interfax-Ukraine, Firtash's defense said the Austrian Supreme Court decided that Ukrainian businessman's appeal, asking for a retrial and arguing that the Austrian Court of Appeals erred when it allowed extradition to the United States (thereby overturning the Austrian trial court's decision denying extradition) was not without merit.
"The Supreme Court thus ordered a stay of Mr. Firtash's extradition pending its review," lawyer Lanny J. Davis from Davis Goldberg Galper PLLC (Washington, D.C.) said in a statement.
As reported by Chicago Tribune, prosecutors’ hopes of getting indicted Ukrainian billionaire oligarch Dmytro Firtash in front of a federal judge in Chicago in 2018 have taken a hit.
Wanted for his alleged role masterminding an international racket that aimed to sell titanium to Chicago-based Boeing, Firtash and his case have attracted additional interest thanks to his past ties to President Donald Trump’s indicted former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.
In recent months his team of high-priced all-star lawyers had been warning that his fight against extradition from Austria, where he was arrested in 2014, was imminent, urging U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer to quickly throw out the case against him before he could be brought to the U.S.
But in a letter to the judge filed Wednesday, Dec. 20, Firtash’s lead lawyer, former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb, acknowledged that recent rulings by the Austrian courts mean “it is now unlikely that Mr. Firtash will face extradition to the United States in the immediate future.”
Austrian judges have referred the case to the notoriously slow Court of Justice of the European Union, which will have to rule before the Austrian Supreme Court can hear Firtash’s appeal of his extradition.
All of which means the chances of Firtash showing up in Chicago anytime soon — or of the feds publicly playing the “thousands of intercepts” they say they have of Firtash and his alleged co-conspirators before special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia — are slim.
Manafort was indicted in October on charges of failing to register as an agent of former pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a close ally of both Firtash and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and of laundering payments from Ukraine to evade taxes. Though Manafort’s known direct ties to Firtash are limited to discussions over an abandoned New York real estate deal in 2008, any delay to Firtash’s extradition avoids an unwanted additional public relations headache for Manafort, at a minimum.