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Trump-Friendly Lawyers Join Legal Team of Ukraine’s Firtash (1)

Sept. 23, 2019, 4:27 PMUpdated: Sept. 23, 2019, 6:05 PM

Dmitry Firtash, a wealthy Ukrainian and onetime business partner of Paul Manafort who is facing extradition to the U.S. on corruption charges, has hired a legal team with close ties to President Donald Trump.

The lawyers retained by Firtash are Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova, according to representatives for Firtash and for the attorneys.

The husband-and-wife team were vocal critics of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election and have voiced support for Trump in the news media and in frequent appearances as legal commentators on Fox News.

Firtash has been fighting a U.S. Justice Department request for extradition to Chicago, where has was charged in a 2013 case involving alleged bribe payment to officials in India to secure mining concessions.

In June, Austria’s Supreme Court ruled that Firtash could be extradited to the U.S. The Ukrainian energy magnate is mounting a last-ditch effort to stave off the transfer.

Firtash struck an agreement in 2007 to supply titanium to Boeing Inc. according to charges filed against him in Chicago. In order to obtain the mineral, Firtash allegedly paid bribes to officials in India to secure his firm’s access to titanium mines on the subcontinent. Boeing wasn’t charged in the case.

Firtash wasn’t linked to Russian attempts to help Trump’s campaign in 2016. However, his U.S. lawyers were approached by Mueller’s team for information about Manafort, who did business with Firtash before he was chairman of Trump’s campaign in the summer of 2016.

In 2008, Manafort was part of an $850 million plan involving Firtash and Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska to purchase the Drake Hotel in Manhattan and convert it into a luxury property. The deal, which was to be financed in part by a Manafort-Deripaska vehicle called Pericles Emerging Market Partners, was never consummated.

Manafort was eventually convicted by Mueller’s prosecutors of multiple crimes and is serving a sentence of more than seven years.

Dan Webb, who continues to represent Firtash in the bribery case, has said that Firtash wasn’t cooperating with Mueller’s investigation of Manafort. Webb is based in Chicago, and Toensing and diGenova are based in Washington. Toensing and diGenova didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

--With assistance from Stephanie Baker.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Greg Farrell in New York at;
Irina Reznik in Moscow at;
Boris Groendahl in Vienna at

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Jeffrey D Grocott at

David S. Joachim

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

(Updates in second paragraph with confirmation by a spokesman for Toensing and diGenova.)