Extradition to Chicago may be imminent for Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch and Paul Manafort associate

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Ukrainian gas mogul with close ties to the Kremlin could be extradited to Chicago by the 4th of July after a five year standoff with U.S. prosecutors here in a controversial global corruption case.

Attorneys for billionaire oligarch Dmitry Firtash say the Austrian Supreme Court will rule on Firtash's extradition to Chicago on June 25. He has been held in Vienna under house arrest since 2014 when a grand jury in Chicago charged him with plotting to bribe Indian officials in a titanium mine deal for a Boeing project.

A letter from Firtash attorney Dan Webb filed late Thursday and obtained by the ABC7 I-Team states that "Mr. Firtash could be extradited within seven to ten days" after the Supreme Court ruling.

"Though the Austrian Minister of Justice must formally approve extradition, Mr. Firtash's Austrian lawyers have informed us that this decision could be rendered quickly. While it remains impossible to predict with certainty, Mr. Firtash's Austrian lawyers thus believe that Mr. Firtash, under the present circumstances, could face extradition as early as the first week of July," Webb states.

Mr. Webb is a former U.S. attorney in Chicago and is now asking Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer for an immediate ruling on Firtash's motion to dismiss the case, prior to his potentially being shipped to Chicago.

"Mr. Firtash's motion to dismiss maintains that the Court lacks jurisdiction over him and that his prosecution violates his right to due process of the law. Without a ruling, Mr. Firtash faces the possibility of extradition to a country he has never before visited to face charges that he has argued this Court should dismiss. To allow the Government to force Mr. Firtash to the United States without a ruling on his motion would constitute a miscarriage of justice," Webb writes.

A former business partner of ex-Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Firtash's legal tangle has been folded into the larger allegations of Russian influence on the 2016 presidential election.

Complicating the public relations debacle for one of Ukraine's most powerful, wealthy and influential businessmen, federal prosecutors have called Firtash an "upper echelon associate" of Russian organized crime. That allegation has been totally and vigorously denied by Firtash's attorneys in Chicago and Washington, DC.
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