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 Lawyer says Firtash may stay in Vienna for another year

Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash, who has stayed in Vienna since March 2014 over the U.S. request to extradite him, may spend between several months and a year in the Austrian capital as his case is unprecedented for the Austrian justice.

Censor.NET reports citing Interfax-Ukraine quoting Firtash's lawyer Ralph Isinegger.

"Firtash is going to stay in Vienna. His stay in Austria may take several months, perhaps more than a year," the lawyer told reporters in Vienna on Wednesday.

Read more: Firtash detained in Vienna on Spain's arrest warrant

On Feb. 21, Vienna's Higher Regional Court considered an appeal by Austria's prosecution against the decision to overturn the extradition of Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash to the United States.

On Oct. 23, 2015, Vienna's prosecution, following a request by the Department of Justice of the United States, appealed a decision by the Vienna Higher Regional Court taken on April 30, 2015. On that day, the court refused to extradite the infamous Ukrainian tycoon to the United States. The judge explained his ruling was based on assumption the extradition request was politically charged. Earlier, the prosecutor's office of Spain put fugitive Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash along with his two alleged accomplices on the international wanted list on charges of laundering large sums of money.

Five other accomplices directly engaged in laundering the assets of the oligarch, including famous Spanish lawyer Antonio de Fortuny, were arrested in Barcelona and in the resort town of Marbella.

The final decision on the matter rests with the Federal Minister of Justice of Austria. Firtash was arrested by the members of the prosecutor's office immediately after the hearing of Vienna Court of Appeal over extradition request filed by Spain.

Read more: Vienna court allows extradition of Firtash to US (updated)

"The Minister of Justice of Austria is to scrutinize the two cases - concerning the request for extradition to the United States and on the European arrest warrant from Spain," Isinegger said.

According to him, the justice minister may see for himself that these requests are politically charged and dismiss the U.S. and Spanish requests. The justice minister set no deadlines for reviewing the documents since there was no such precedent in the history of the Austrian justice, Isinegger explained.

He said the lawyers were taking all possible measures to challenge the decision of the appeals court, in particular filing motions to the Supreme Court of Austria and the European Court of Human Rights.

Read more: SAP asks court to return Firtash's Zaporizhia Titanium and Magnesium Plant to state

The court in Vienna is to impose pre-trial restriction against Firtash approximately by 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23. The European arrest warrant issued by Spain stipulates that the court of first instance is to address the issue of Firtash's extradition within 30 days after the decision on pre-trial restriction. The court of second instance will have another 30 days to consider the case if appealed.
 
 
 
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