Ukrainian industrialist Firtash released on 125-million-euro bail - court

by Reuters
Friday, 21 March 2014 16:36 GMT

(Adds court statement, background)

VIENNA, March 21 (Reuters) - Ukrainian industrialist Dmytro Firtash, wanted by the United States, has been released from detention in Austria after posting 125 million euros ($174 million) in bail, a Vienna court said on Friday.

One of Ukraine's most influential oligarchs, Firtash, 48, was arrested in Vienna on March 12 at the request of U.S. authorities, which have been investigating him since 2006.

U.S. prosecutors said last week the U.S. government would seek Firtash's extradition to face charges filed in a Chicago court arising from an investigation into international corruption.

The detention of Firtash, whose business concerns in gas trading and chemicals thrived under ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, is the highest-profile arrest in the wake of turmoil which installed new pro-Western authorities in power in Kiev in February.

"The bail arrived on the account of the (court), accordingly (Dmytro Firtash) had to be released," the court statement said.

A Reuters photographer outside the detention centre where Firtash has been held said he had not yet seen him leave the building.

The Vienna court had said on Thursday that the bail was posted the previous day but that authorities were checking the origin of the money. The bank handling the account had reported the funds to federal money-laundering investigators, who would check where the money came from. (Reporting by Angelika Gruber, Fredrik Dahl and Leo Foeger; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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