Ukrainian oligarch Dymitro Firtash waits for the start of his trial at the Austrian supreme court in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, June 25, 2019. Austrian supreme court rules on extradition case of Ukrainian oligarch Dymitro Firtash to the US. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

Top Austrian court says Ukrainian oligarch can be sent to US

June 25, 2019 - 8:09 am

VIENNA (AP) — Austria's Supreme Court of Justice ruled Tuesday that a Ukrainian oligarch who prosecutors say had business ties to President Donald Trump's ex-campaign manager, Paul Manafort, can be extradited to the United States in a bribery case.

Judges upheld a lower Vienna court's ruling that Dymitro Firtash, who was arrested in Austria in 2014 and then freed on bail, can be sent to the U.S. The decision comes days after a Chicago federal judge rejected a motion to dismiss an indictment accusing Firtash of a conspiracy to pay bribes in India to mine titanium, which is used in jet engines.

Firtash denies wrongdoing and argued that the U.S. has no jurisdiction over crimes in India. However, federal Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer ruled it did because any scheme would have impacted a Chicago-based company, the American aviation giant Boeing.

Boeing has said it considered doing business with Firtash but never followed through. It is not accused of any wrongdoing.

The Austria Press Agency reported that Justice Minister Clemens Jabloner will now have to decide whether the extradition can go ahead.

Firtash's Austrian lawyer and spokesman declined immediate comment after Tuesday's ruling.

Before becoming Trump's campaign manager, Manafort pursued a business deal with Firtash to redevelop a Manhattan hotel. Manafort isn't accused of any wrongdoing in the Chicago case.

Manafort was sentenced in March to serve more than seven years in prison on federal charges in cases brought in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. The charges related to Manafort's years of Ukrainian political consulting work. Manafort also faces fraud charges in New York state.

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