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 Firtash again arrested in Vienna under U.S. extradition proceedings

Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash, remanded Thursday on the previously posted 125 million euro bail with obligation to stay in Austria, was shortly arrested under the existing United States extradition proceedings.

Censor.NET reports citing Interfax-Ukraine quoting Austrian media and businessman's lawyers.

The court must decide on a restraint against Firtash under "American" case on Friday afternoon, Feb. 24.

On Feb. 23, Vienna's Higher Regional Court, having considered Spain's request for the extradition of Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash, ruled to release him without posting additional bail.

"The court rejected Vienna's prosecution request to arrest Firtash, because there is no risk of Firtash's failure to appear at court at request. The court ordered Firtash to attend meetings at regular intervals," the lawyers said.

"Firtash is not allowed to leave the territory of Austria, he has surrendered his passport to the court," they added.

Later, they reported that after the court had overturned Spain's request for Firtash's detention, a prosecution representative demanded to arrest the oligarch under the existing United States extradition proceedings.

Read more: Firtash surrenders foreign passport after court releases him on previous bail, - lawyers

"Dmytro Firtash denies all charges against him, and we are confident his innocence will be proved," the lawyers stated.

They argue that the Spanish investigation not only brings charges similar to those by the U.S. authorities in Illinois but follows the instructions by the Chicago prosecution.

"It's part of the same story - political persecution of Firtash," the lawyers said.

Dmytro Firtash, the chairman of the Group DF Supervisory Council, was arrested in Austria on March 12, 2014 at the request of the United States. The Ukrainian businessman was accused of giving a bribe totaling $18.5 million to receive a permit for the extraction of raw titanium in India for subsequent sale of finished products in the U.S.

Vienna's Higher Regional Court first ruled to put Firtash under extradition arrest, but then decided to remand him on a 125 million euro bail with obligation not to leave Austria. On April 30, 2015, the same court overturned the U.S. Department of Justice request for the extradition of Firtash, citing political motives. In September 2015, Vienna's prosecution appealed the decision, and Vienna's Higher Regional Court granted the appeal on Feb. 21, 2017.

Minutes after the Austrian court granted the request for Firtash's extradition to the U.S., he was detained on Spain's arrest warrant.

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

The court was to impose pre-trial restriction against Firtash approximately by 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23. The 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.

The lawyers said the previously posted 125 million euro bail was still effective, adding Firtash could freely leave Austria in the period between the April 30, 2015 decision of the first instance court that overturned the request for his extradition to the United States and the opposite decision by the appeals court, adopted on Feb. 21, 2017.

The final decision on the extradition rests with Austria's federal minister of justice. According to the lawyers, Firtash may spend between several months and a year in the Austrian capital as his case is unprecedented for the Austrian justice.
 
 
 
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