The future of Dmytro Firtash, one of Ukraine’s most prominent billionaires will be decided today in Austria.
A Vienna regional criminal court is to rule whether extradition proceedings can go ahead to send the oligarch to the US where he is accused of corruption linked to an Indian mining deal.
If found guilty Firtash faces decades in prison and the confiscation of his assets.
Vienna-based Firtash has denied the allegations with a counter claim that the West and Kyiv are punishing him for opposing the war in eastern Ukraine.
On Wednesday the Kyiv government ordered 500 million cubic metres of gas to be confiscated from Firtash’s Ostchem company which it claims together with the oil giant Naftogaz conspired to steal from the Ukranian state.
Analysts point to the change in government in Kyiv and ex-president Viktor Yanukovych’s flight to Russia which has led Firtash to lose benefactors in his home country. He has also criticised the way the new government in Kyiv is handling the crisis in eastern Ukraine. Despite the Crimean annexation and the war, Firtash is an advocate of dialogue with Russia.