Oligarch Firtash hesitates to return to Ukraine due to persecution by government

Source : 112 Ukraine

Ukrainian businessman charged with embezzlement of state property
12:33, 2 December 2015


Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash delayed his return to Ukraine due to opposition of the government, says the businessman’s statement released by the Federation of Employers of Ukraine.

“It’s unfortunate that the Ukrainian government made unprecedented steps, making my arrival to Ukraine impossible. The authorities showed their total incompetence, sabotaging economic reforms and bringing the state on the edge of bankruptcy. Apparently, the government is afraid of alternative points of view, while trying to persuade people that the current catastrophic situation in the economy is natural and inevitable. I consider such actions of the government criminal, and to me, these are political persecutions”, the statement says.

Previously, there was information that Firtash intended to come to Ukraine on December 2 to participate in the meeting of the Federation of Employers of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian businessman and Head of the Council of the Federation of Employers, Firtash was arrested in Austria in March 2014 by request of the U.S. government. The land criminal court of Vienna imposed a pre-trail restraint on him, but later released the oligarch on bail of EUR 125 million and an obligation not to leave the country. In April 2015, the same court turned down the request of the U.S. Department of Justice on Firtash’s extradition.

Ukrainian law enforcement agencies also expect Firtash to return to the country. Earlier, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said that the Ministry summoned him for an enquiry that is necessary as the Ministry investigates cases of corruption schemes and embezzlement of the state property. In late November, Avakov said that Firtash will be detained upon returning to Ukraine due to the respective appeal by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The National Police of Ukraine investigates two criminal cases directly related to Dmytro Firtash. The first one concerns the OSTCHEM, a group of companies that belong to Firtash, which caused losses to the state at the sum of EUR 300 mln. Another case concerns allowances of assets from state-run company “Naftogaz Ukrainy” to Firtash’s “RosUkrEnergo AG”.11 billion cubic meters of gas and 1.1 billion cubic meters of gas were transferred as punitive sanctions, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook page. 

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