Tycoon Firtash says allegations behind Ukraine sanctions move ‘wrong’


VIENNA (Reuters) – Ukrainian tycoon Dmytro Firtash denies allegations behind his home country’s move to impose sanctions on him for selling titanium products that Kyiv believes end up being used by Russian military enterprises, one of his lawyers said on Monday.

The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, which coordinates security policy, announced the decision on Friday, adding that the specifics would be announced separately in a presidential decree. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has promised action to reduce oligarchs’ influence on Ukraine.

“Mr Firtash has not been given advance notice nor has he had the opportunity to challenge the allegations before the Security Council,” U.S. attorney Lanny Davis said in a statement.

“Since he has not been served with the decision of the Security Council, we will refrain from commenting, except to state that Mr Firtash categorically denies the allegations, which he says are wrong.”

Firtash rose to become a wealthy and influential businessman in Ukraine. He has been indicted in the United States on bribery and racketeering charges. He denies wrongdoing and has fought extradition from Vienna.

Relations between Ukraine and Russia collapsed after Russia’s annexation of the Crimea peninsula in 2014 and support for separatist forces in the eastern Donbass region in a conflict that Kyiv says has killed 14,000 people.

(Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Peter Graff)

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