Prosecutors: Some bribes in oligarch case earmarked for US

By MICHAEL TARM Markets Associated Press

A new U.S. court filing in an international bribery case against a pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch with ties to President Donald Trump's former campaign manager suggests for the first time that some bribe money was earmarked for individuals in the United States.

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The late Monday filing in Chicago is prosecutors' response to Dymitro Firtash's motion to dismiss all the charges against him. He is accused of spearheading a conspiracy to pay at least $18 million in bribes to mine titanium in India and sell it to a Chicago-based company.

Firtash, now 52, denies the allegations. He was arrested in Austria in 2014 on an American warrant, then released on $172 million bail. The U.S. continues to seek his extradition.

Before becoming Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort pursued a business deal with Firtash to redevelop a Manhattan hotel. Manafort isn't accused of any wrongdoing in the Chicago case. Manafort is among the figures being investigated by federal agencies regarding Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

One of Firtash's arguments for tossing the charges is that a U.S. role in the alleged crime is incidental, so there's no justification for prosecuting him in the U.S. But prosecutors' 110-page filing says that's wrong. It says evidence shows individuals in the U.S. itself were designated to receive bribe money — though it offers no detail.

Participants in the mining enterprise expected to generate more than $500 million annually from the sale of titanium, which is used in making items from golf clubs to jet engines, court filings say.

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Prosecutors spell Firtash's first name Dmitry.