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Ukrainian oligarch posts bail but remains in custody

The pro-Russia Ukrainian oligarch who was arrested in Vienna last week remains held in custody in Austria despite having posted 125 million Euros in bail money.

Although the money has been transferred, 48-year-old businessman Dimitry Firtasch continues to be held by authorities whilst money-laundering specialists check to see where the bail money has come from, a Viennese court has said.

Firtash was arrested in Vienna on 12 March at the request of Washington, who issued an international arrest warrant and say they had been investigating the Ukrainian for corruption charges since 2006.

The arrest was seen to as a warning last week from President Obama to Russian President Vladimir Putin that his Ukrainian allies will be targeted if Russia continues to exert control over the Crimean region of Ukraine, following the overthrow of the pro-Russian government in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev by pro-Europe protesters in February.

Since then, Russia went ahead and voted to bring Crimea into Russia, a move supported in a referendum in Crimea where around 90% of people are said to have voted in favour of being part of Russia. However, the vote is widely seen as illegal and illegitimate by those in the West as it contradicts the Ukrainian constitution that rules all of Ukraine must vote over whether Crimea can separate from the country and was carried out under Russian military supervision.

Since Russia formally accepted the referendum, the USA and Europe have moved forward with further economic sanctions on Russia.

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