WASHINGTON: Dmytro Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch with ties to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort who is fighting extradition to the U.S., has hired Davis Goldberg & Galper, according to Justice Department records.
Davis Goldberg & Galper has been retained for $80,000 per month plus expenses for legal representation and media strategy, according to the documents.
The FBI has been trying to extradite Firtash on corruption charges after Austria detained him in 2014, alleging bribery and forming a criminal group. However, the law-enforcement agency’s efforts have been in vain despite his indictment by a federal grand jury in Chicago in 2014. The Justice Department has appealed to a higher Austrian court.
"The time has come for the details of Firtash’s life history and the reasons why an Austrian court made the virtually unprecedented decision to deny an extraditionary request from the U.S. Department of Justice [to come to light]," said Davis Goldberg & Galper cofounder Lanny Davis.
Davis, a former special counsel to President Bill Clinton, previously represented Firtash when the 2014 indictment was handed down in Chicago. At the time, Davis’ law firm was known as Lanny Davis & Associates before it expanded and rebranded.
The firm’s work on behalf of Firtash includes strategy for legal and litigation positions and "correcting the record in the media and elsewhere in the face of distortions and inaccuracies and advising on such media strategies for such purposes," according to the filings.
Public documents state Davis Goldberg & Galper will disseminate press releases and other informational material to magazines, newspapers, and editors on behalf of Firtash. No PR agencies or publicity agents will handle those materials, according to the filings.
"Now is the time for Firtash to correct the record as that decision is being appealed by the U.S government to Austrian appellate courts, concerning false and misinformation published in U.S. media," Davis added.
The parties anticipate that the agreement, set to expire midway through next month, will be followed up with a formal written contact, according to the documents.
Firtash gained wealth in Russia by buying gas from Russian energy giant Gazprom in what Reuters called "remarkable sweetheart deals brokered by associates of Russian leader Vladimir Putin at immense cost to Russian taxpayers." He was arrested by Austrian authorities at the request of the U.S. in early 2014.
Firtash has also been linked to Manafort, the former Trump campaign chair who was ousted this summer. Manafort’s firm attempted to redevelop the Drake Hotel in Manhattan, an $850 million project, with the financial backing of Firtash in 2008.
Spanish authorities also allege Firtash was involved in a scheme that laundered about 10 million euros through property deals and restaurants, according to The Independent. The country is also seeking Firtash’s extradition from Austria.
The Justice Department declined comment, saying it "does not comment on extradition-related matters unless and until a defendant arrives in the United States."