Oligarch: US charges 'politically motivated'

CHICAGO (AP) -- A Ukrainian oligarch says U.S. charges against him are "politically motived" and that he's a victim of U.S.-Russian power plays.

Dmytro Firtash posted the video statement on his website Thursday, a day after prosecutors in Chicago unsealed the charges.

The 48-year-old says Ukraine is a U.S.-Russian "battlefield" and he has "ended up in the center." He also calls U.S. allegations that he masterminded a scheme to bribe officials in India to secure mining licenses "completely absurd."

Washington imposed sanction on Russia after it seized Ukraine's Crimea peninsula last month. Firtash has close business ties to Russia.

He was arrested last month in Austria, then released on $172 million bail as the U.S. seeks his extradition.

The silver-haired Firtash spoke Russian in the video. The site provided an English translation.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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