One of Ukraine's most influential oligarchs allegedly spearheaded an international conspiracy to pay at least US$18 million in bribes to mine titanium in India and sell it to a Chicago-based company, according to an indictment unsealed by US prosecutors.
After the unsealing on Wednesday, Chicago-based Boeing said it had once signed a memorandum of understanding with a firm controlled by the oligarch, Dmytro Firtash, but never followed through on it. The indictment itself does not identify the Chicago-based company or accuse it of any wrongdoing.
Firtash, a long-time ally of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, and a major player in the sale of Russian natural gas to Ukraine, is described as the ringleader of the alleged conspiracy that, starting in 2006, sought to mine titanium deposits in the eastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The enterprise was expected to generate more than US$500 million annually from the sale of titanium, which is used in making items from golf clubs to jet engines.
The 48-year-old Firtash controls a conglomerate of companies, called Group DF, and the indictment alleges that several companies under that umbrella firm were involved in the conspiracy.