As highlighted in this prior post, in April 2014 the DOJ announced the unsealing of a criminal indictment charging six individuals “with participating in an alleged international racketeering conspiracy involving bribes of state and central government officials in India to allow the mining of titanium minerals.”
Among those charged was Dmitry Firtash, a high-profile Ukrainian businessman.
Prior to the April 2014 unsealed indictment, Firtash was arrested in Austria and thereafter paid $174 million to post bail. Responding to the U.S. criminal charges, as noted in this prior post, Firtash released a video which insisted he is an innocent party caught at the center of a “battlefield for the two biggest global players of Russia and the USA.”
As highlighted in this May 2015 post, an Austrian judge denied a U.S. extradition request and called the DOJ’s case against Firtash “politically motivated” and lacking “sufficient proof.” However, as highlighted in this February 2017 post, an Austrian court approved an American extradition request for Firtash and it was noted that:
“Mr. Firtash’s American legal team said in an emailed statement that he was “charged concerning a project in India that was never completed — a project entirely outside the U.S. that had no effect on the U.S. and in which the U.S. has no legitimate interest.” “If and when Mr. Firtash is required to come to the United States, the team will fight to obtain dismissal of this unjust case by the Department of Justice or, if necessary, in U.S. courts, to clear Mr. Firtash’s name,” said the legal team, Daniel Webb, a former United States attorney in Chicago; Michael Chertoff, a former secretary of Homeland Security; and the lawyer Lanny J. Davis.”
Earlier this week, Firtash’s lawyers filed this motion to dismiss. In summary fashion it states:
“Defendant Dmitry Firtash (“Firtash”) moves to dismiss the Indictment pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12(b) because the Indictment fails to set forth facts that satisfy the legal requirements of venue in the Northern District of Illinois or jurisdiction in the United States. Firtash is a 51-year-old Ukrainian citizen. He is not now, and has never been, a citizen of the United States of America. Firtash has never applied for the visa required to enter the United States and has never set foot in the country. The Indictment fails to allege a single illicit act by Firtash that either occurred in the United States or affected the United States. The charges in the Indictment are based on allegations that bribes were paid to Indian officials in connection with a “mining” project that was planned to take place entirely within India by foreign companies with no connection to the United States. United States law and international legal principles establish no basis for the prosecution of this case in the United States. This Court should dismiss the indictment for three reasons. First, there is no venue in the Northern District of Illinois and a trial in this district would violate the U.S. Constitution. Second, none of the laws that Firtash is charged with violating properly apply beyond the territory of the United States nor are they domestic as alleged. Third, the prosecution is a violation of Firtash’s due process rights because the United States has no legitimate interest in prosecuting the charged conduct.
The allegations in the Indictment fail because they lack the required nexus, either geographically or from the perspective of a cognizable United States interest, to the charged conduct. This Court should dismiss the Indictment.”
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