Dmytro Firtash

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Dmytro Firtash
Дмитро́ Фі́рташ
Born (1965-05-02) May 2, 1965 (age 48)
Bohdanivka, Ukraine, Soviet Union
Occupation Businessman
Spouse(s) Lada Firtash
Children 3
Website
dmitryfirtash.com

Dmytro Vasylovych Firtash (Ukrainian: Дмитро́ Васи́льович Фі́рташ) is a Ukrainian businessman, investor and philanthropist. He is Head of the Board of Directors of Group DF,[1] President of the Federation of Employers of Ukraine (FEU),[2] Chairman of the National Tripartite Social and Economic Council (NTSEC),[3] Co-Chairman of Domestic and Foreign Investors Advisory Council under the Ministry of Education, Science, Youth and Sports of Ukraine,[4] member of the Committee for Economic Reforms under the President of Ukraine.[5]

Firtash[6] was born on May 2, 1965 in Bohdanivka (within Zalishchiky Raion of Ternopil oblast), Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union; now Synkiv, Ukraine.

Assets[edit]

Firtash is co-owner of RosUkrEnergo and controls much of Ukraine’s titanium business. He gained control of previously state-owned titanium assets across Ukraine in 2004. He also owns several chemical plants[7] In May 2011, Firtash took over Nadra Bank (at the time Ukraine's 11th largest bank), Nadra Bank had gone into default in 2009 but it had restructured its foreign debt with significant write-offs since.[8]

Firtash was elected President of the Joint Representative Body,a joint representative agency of employers at national level, on November 29, 2011.[9]

Over the last 15 years Firtash has become one of the leading investors in the power sector and chemical industry in Central and Eastern Europe.[10] His plants and companies are present in Ukraine, Germany, Italy, Cyprus, Tajikistan, Switzerland, Hungary, Austria and Estonia. The international group of companies Group DF (‘The Firtash group of companies’) founded by Firtash in 2007 consolidates assets in the chemical industry, power sector and real estate.

In 2010, Firtash launched an effort towards consolidation of the Ukrainian nitrogen business. From September 2010 to September 2011, Firtash acquired ownership in ‘Concern STIROL’ (Horlivka), ‘Severodonetsk Production Association Azot’ and ‘Cherkassy Azot‘.[11] In just over a year, the joint marketing strategy of the four fertilizers manufacturers owned by irtash substantially strengthened its domestic market position. The businessman is also actively pursuing an agenda of titanium industries development.[12]

Business career[edit]

Firtash started in business almost immediately after completing his military service. He founded his own trading company first in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, eventually moving to Moscow in the early 1990s.

In 2007, a private international group of companies, Group DF (‘The Firtash group of companies’) was formed with the view to consolidating Dmitry Firtash’s business assets in different sectors. Presently, Group DF incorporates assets in the chemical industry, energy sector and real estate, and this consolidation effort is still underway.

In 2010, Firtash launched an effort towards consolidation of the Ukrainian nitrogen business. From September 2010 to September 2011, Firtash acquired ownership in ‘Concern STIROL’ (Gorlovka), ‘Severodonetsk Production Association Azot’ and ‘Cherkassy Azot‘. In just over a year, the joint marketing strategy of the four fertilizers manufacturers owned by Firtash substantially strengthened its domestic market position. The businessman is also actively pursuing an agenda of titanium industries development.[13]

Firtash bought 100 percent of InterInter Media Group Limited (back) from Valeriy Khoroshkovskyi on 1 February 2013; for his GDF Media Limited.[14] In June 2007 Khoroshkovskyi had expanded his U.A. Inter Media Group Ltd with various other channels bought from Firtash.[15]

Controversy[edit]

Firtash is a controversial figure in Ukraine.[16] According to documents uncovered during the United States diplomatic cables leak Firtash told U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor of needing permission from alleged Russian crime boss Semyon Mogilevich to do business in Ukraine during the lawless 1990s.[17] The same documents suggest that Firtash also claimed to be friends with President Viktor Yushchenko.[18] Firtash denied the remarks.[17] Allegedly, Gazprom, a Russian natural-gas extraction company, had asked Mogilevich to oversee natural-gas deliveries from Russia to Ukraine via gas intermediary RosUkrEnergo. All parties deny connections with Mogilevich.[17] Other cables said Firtash and Mogilevich were linked through ostensible offshore company vehicles either by joint ownership through former spouses or through Firtash heading companies in which Mogilevich’s former spouse was the shareholder.[19] It was also suspected that Raiffeisen Bank, an Austrian-based bank, was a front to legitimize RosUkrEnergo.[19]

On June 16, 2009, Yulia Tymoshenko accused fellow candidates in the 2010 Ukrainian presidential election, Viktor Yushchenko, Arseniy Yatseniuk and Viktor Yanukovych of having the same campaign headquarters financed by Firtash.[20][21] On April 26, 2011 Tymoshenko sued Firtash and RosUkrEnergo in a U.S. District Court in Manhattan accusing them of "defrauding Ukraine's citizenry by manipulating an arbitration court ruling, "undermining the rule of law in Ukraine" in connection with the 2010 international arbitration court ruling in Stockholm that ordered Ukraine's state energy company Naftogaz to pay RosUkrEnergo 11 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural-gas to compensate for fuel it had "expropriated" plus 1.1 billion bcm as a penalty.[22][23]

Allegedly Firtash and influential multi-time Minister Yuriy Boiko "are close associates".[24][25][26][27]

Certain analysts and Ukrainian politicians believe that Firtash is a secret force behind the sentencing of Yulia Tymoshenko in 2011 either as revenge or because of his "lucrative relations" with Russia he is deliberately hindering Ukraine's European Union integration.[28] Firtash was accused in a New York court of “masterminding” Tymoshenko's imprisonment; the case was dismissed in March 2013.[29]

In the 2012 Ukrainian parliamentary election Firtash was perceived as being one of UDAR’s main sponsors.[30] This has been denied by UDAR.[31]

On July 23, 2013 brothers Ilya and Vadim Segal, the New York-based owners of Dancroft Holdings brought charges against Firtash and Nadra Bank, Ukraine's eighth-largest bank, in New York County Supreme Court.[32] The suit accuses Firtash, the banks owner, of seizing their assets via “sham lawsuits” over debt, and of using his connections with President Viktor Yanukovich to guarantee the outcomes in court cases.[29] The suit stated that the former head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Valeriy Khoroshkovskyi, is a business partner of Firtash, together with head of the presidential administration Serhiy Lyovochkin, and former Ukrainian energy minister, (at the time of the complaint) Deputy Prime Minister Yuriy Boiko. According to the complaint, the SBU, in bringing charges against the Segals, was simply acting on behalf of Firtash.[33]

On March 13, 2014, Austrian authorities arrested Firtash on bribery and other charges at the request of American law enforcement agencies.[34] Firtash is a member of the Guild of Cambridge Benefactors, set up in 1998 to recognize the generosity of major benefactors over £1 million to the University and Cambridge Colleges.[35] At a Guild of Cambridge Benefactors event held on March 19, 2014 to honor the University's most prestigious donors, Lada Firtash, his wife was in attendance. A group which calls itself Positive Investment Cambridge (PIC) handed out leaflets and daffodils to donors attending the event that called for the University to "spring clean" its donations.[36]

Social activities[edit]

Firtash has been pursuing an active public agenda: his important initiative has been the unification of employers’ organizations of Ukraine into a single powerful association – the Federation of Employers of Ukraine in which he has been President since November 2011. At present the FEU membership unites companies and enterprises collectively generating 70 percent of Ukraine’s GDP.[37]

Firtash is one of Ukraine’s leading philanthropists,[38] providing systemic support to education[39] science,[40] theaters,[41] museums,[42] as well as historical, cultural and humanitarian projects.[43] Firtash’s enterprises have been promoting the social and economic development of municipalities where they are based.

In 2008, on Firtash’s initiative and with his financial support, the University of Cambridge (UK) established a Cambridge Ukrainian Studies[44] aimed at promoting the study of Ukraine’s rich cultural heritage in the United Kingdom and beyond. Another charity initiative by Firtash enabled the establishment of the Cambridge-Ukraine Studentships[45] that made it possible for eligible students from Ukraine to seek a Master’s degree at the University of Cambridge. The scholarships cover the cost of both tuition and accommodation for qualified students.

Firtash has been supporting a series of other massive educational projects. An example of such philanthropic support is his financing of construction of the Ukrainian Catholic University campus in the city of Lviv.[46]

The Holy Trinity Cathedral at the Holy Ascension Monastery in the village of Bancheny of Chernivtsi region were constructed with funds raised by the Orthodox community and a sizable contribution from Firtash. Firtash’s support was recognized by the Orthodox church: His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia awarded the philanthropist with the Order of Venerable Serafim Sarowsky, 2nd Degree.[47]

Charity[edit]

Firtash has been active in initiating and developing programs aimed at promoting Ukraine at the international arena.

In 2008, on Firtash’s initiative and with his financial support, the University of Cambridge (UK)[48] established a Cambridge Ukrainian Studies aimed at promoting the study of Ukraine’s rich cultural heritage in the United Kingdom and beyond.

As part of this program, Cambridge’s students from across the globe attend an academic course of Ukrainian Studies that includes the Ukrainian language, literature, cinematography, culture and history.[49] Prominent international researchers of Ukraine are invited to lecture and host workshops on topical issues pertinent to both Ukraine’s history and preset. The University of Cambridge also holds literary readings, art exhibitions and the Annual Cambridge Ukrainian Film Festival.[50] Over the history of its existence, the Cambridge Ukrainian Studies Program has truly become Ukraine’s informal humanitarian mission in the United Kingdom.

Another charity initiative by Firtash enabled the establishment of the Cambridge-Ukraine Studentships that made it possible for eligible students from Ukraine to seek a Master’s degree at the University of Cambridge. The scholarships cover the cost of both tuition and accommodation for qualified students.

Firtash has been supporting a series of other massive educational projects. An example of such philanthropic support is his financing of construction of the Ukrainian Catholic University campus in the city of Lviv.

The entrepreneur is actively involved in projects aiming at the international promotion of Ukrainian culture. His donation made it possible to organize and hold the second International Poetry Festival Meridian Czernowitz.[51]

A series of benchmarking events in Ukraine’s cultural life – films screening and festivities on occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Ukrainian actor Bohdan Stupka – became a well-known success largely due to Firtash’s benefaction.[52]

Among other Firtash’s charity work is assistance to Ukrainian professional theaters. The celebration of the 75th anniversary of Kherson Regional Musical and Drama Theater largely owes its success to the philanthropist’s endowment. In addition to that, his sponsorship support enabled a major restoration of material and technical resources of Chernivtsi Regional Musical and Drama Theater which became a generous gift on occasion of the theater’s 80th anniversary.

References[edit]

  1. ^ About Group DF
  2. ^ Site of the Federation of Employers of Ukraine
  3. ^ The National Tripartite Social and Economic Council
  4. ^ The Ministry of Education, Science, Youth and Sports of Ukraine
  5. ^ The Committee for Economic Reforms under the President of Ukraine
  6. ^ Personal site of Dmitry Firtash
  7. ^ Site of Group DF)
  8. ^ Ukrainian tycoon Firtash takes over bank Nadra, Reuters (May 4, 2011)
  9. ^ Firtash elected head of Federation of Employers of Ukraine, Kyiv Post (December 6, 2010)
  10. ^ Worldfolio. "By making my company big and competitive, I make Ukraine big and competitive."
  11. ^ Ft. "Firtash acquires third chemical plant"
  12. ^ Interfax. "Group DF acquires 32.7% stake in Italian titanium alloy producer via its affiliated company"
  13. ^ Interfax. "Ukraine's economic news Group DF acquires 32.7% stake in Italian titanium alloy producer via its affiliated company"
  14. ^ Khoroshkovsky sells Inter channel to Firtash (UPDATED), Kyiv Post (1 February 2013)
  15. ^ "Khoroshkovsky Creates New Media Giant in Ukraine". Kommersant. June 27, 2007. Retrieved June 21, 2010.  (English) (Russian)
    Oligarchs strengthen grip over TV. Kyiv Post (August 19, 2011)
    Tax administration to check on TV channels of Inter media group, Kyiv Post (4 January 2012)
  16. ^ Firtash denies Mogilevich ties; won’t discuss cable, Kyiv Post (December 3, 2010)
  17. ^ a b c Staff writer (3 December 2010). "WikiLeaks Reveals Sensitive U.S. Talks. — Firtash, Mogilevich Ties". Kyiv Post. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  18. ^ Pavel Korduban (9 December 2010). WikiLeaks Confirms Role Played by Firtash in Ukrainian Politics. Georgian Daily. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  19. ^ a b Rachkevych, Mark (3 December 2010). "U.S. Official: Austrian Bank's Ties to RosUkrEnergo Suspicious". Kyiv Post. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  20. ^ Tymoshenko: Yushchenko, Yatseniuk, and Yanukovych have one headquarters for three, UNIAN (June 16, 2009)
  21. ^ Yuschenko and Yatseniuk are 'technical candidates' for Yanukovych, says Tymoshenko, Interfax-Ukraine (June 16, 2009)
  22. ^ Ukrainian ex-PM sues gas company, businessman in US court, Reuters (April 27, 2011)
  23. ^ Prisoner of independence, Novaya Gazeta (12 October 2011)
  24. ^ Russian Patriarch prays for Yanukovych, honors Firtash and Boyko (updated), Kyiv Post (October 2, 2011)
  25. ^ Energy Dependency, Politics and Corruption in the Former Soviet Union: Russia's Power, Oligarchs' Profits and Ukraine's Missing Energy Policy, 1995-2006 by Margarita M. Balmaceda, Routledge, 2007, ISBN 978-0-415-43779-0 (page 124)
  26. ^ The Underbelly of Ukrainian Gas Dealings, Der Spiegel (30 December 2010)
  27. ^ Naftohaz Ukrainy Management Change Indicates Turn to Russia, Georgian Daily (25 March 2010)
  28. ^ EU Hopes Fade As Gas Lobby Triumphs, Kyiv Post (16 December 2011)
  29. ^ a b "Ukrainian Tycoon Firtash Sued in NYC". RiaNovosti. July 23, 2013. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  30. ^ After the parliamentary elections in Ukraine: a tough victory for the Party of Regions, Centre for Eastern Studies (7 November 2012)
  31. ^ Klitschko: UDAR's election campaign to cost Hr 90 million, Kyiv Post (15 September 2012)
  32. ^ [1]
  33. ^ [2]
  34. ^ Herszenhorn, David (March 13, 2014). "At Request of U.S., Austria Arrests Ukrainian Businessman". New York Times. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  35. ^ The Guild of Cambridge Benefactors
  36. ^ "University of Cambridge Students Asks University to ‘Spring Clean’ Its Donations". Positive Investment Cambridge. March 19, 2014. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  37. ^ Interfax. "Federation of Employers of Ukraine proposes electing Firtash as head of federation's council"
  38. ^ Korrespondent.net
  39. ^ Chemo.univer.kharkov
  40. ^ Kyivpost. "Nation suffers from lack of research, innovation"
  41. ^ Dmitryfirtash.com "Government Must Turn Its face to Ukrainian Theaters, Says Dmitry Firtash"
  42. ^ Confeu. "Dmitry Firtash will continue to allocate funds to support the Theater, Philharmonic Hall and Museum in Chernivtsi"
  43. ^ Day. "Mark WILLIAMS: First of all you should sing with your heart"
  44. ^ Kyivpost."Firtash donates $6.7 million to Cambridge Ukrainian studies"
  45. ^ "Cambridgetrusts"
  46. ^ UCEF. "Ukrainian Catholic University Accepts Pledge for New Campus"
  47. ^ 24tv. "Dmitry Firtash Receives Order from Patriarch Kirill for Support in Holy Trinity Cathedral Construction"
  48. ^ Cambridge Ukrainian Studies. Personal Site of Dmitry Firtash
  49. ^ Cambridge Ukrainian Studies.
  50. ^ Cambridge Ukrainian Studies Program Is Ukraine’s Unofficial Embassy At The World’s Best University
  51. ^ Sponsorship of the 2nd Poetry Festival Meridian Czernowitz
  52. ^ Jubilee Events Celebrating Bohdan Stupka’s 70th Anniversary

External links[edit]