KIEV, March 13 (RIA Novosti) – Ukrainian billionaire Dmytro Firtash, who made his fortune on Russian natural gas imports, has been detained in the Austrian capital Vienna, his company said on Thursday.
“We are convinced that this incident is a result of a misunderstanding and will be resolved in the near future,” the company said in a statement.
Forbes ranked 48-year-old Firtash, the founder of the Group DF international holding, as Ukraine's 14th richest man.
With an estimated wealth of $673 million, Firtash enjoyed substantial influence under the recently ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich due to his close links to Russia and involvement in the gas and chemical industries.
“We have been informed that the actions of Austrian law enforcement agencies regarding Firtash are related to a 2006 investment project and have no links to the current situation in Ukraine and the Group’s operations in Europe and the United States,” the Group DF press service said.
According to Austria’s Federal Criminal Police Office, a Ukrainian national, identified as “Dmitry F,” was detained in Vienna’s downtown Margareten district on Wednesday evening. The arrest was carried out as part of “legal assistance to US authorities.”
The detainee, who is said to be on the wanted list since 2006 on charges of bribery and setting up a criminal organization, has been transferred to the Josefstadt prison in Vienna.