Ukrainian oligarch and Michael Cohen attorney Lanny Davis cut ties as extradition looms

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Lanny Davis (right) arrives at the House Intelligence Committee ahead of client Michael Cohen’s testimony. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

For nearly five years, Dmytro Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch with alleged ties to organized crime and the Russian government, has been engaged in a fierce legal battle in Austria to beat bribery and racketeering charges and stave off extradition to the U.S.

At every step of the way, Lanny Davis, former special counsel to President Bill Clinton who made headlines for providing legal representation to longtime lawyer for President Donald Trump Michael Cohen, has fought alongside him. Department of Justice documents filed in accordance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act show Davis agreed to provide both legal and media aid as a foreign agent of the Ukrainian businessman.

After decisions by both the Austrian Supreme Court and justice minister to approve Firtash’s extradition, however, the longtime arrangement has come to an end. A recent FARA disclosure filed with the Department of Justice shows that Davis and his firm, Davis, Goldberg & Galper, concluded their relationship with Firtash on July 20. 

“We are not going to comment on this matter,  except to say we continue to believe in Mr. Firtash’s innocence and his ultimate vindication. Going forward, the law firm of diGenova & Toensing will be representing Mr. Firtash, ” Davis told no deposit bonus forex in an email.

Davis began working with Firtash weeks after the latter’s arrest at the request of American authorities in Vienna in 2014. Firtash paid Davis’s firm a monthly fee of $80,000 to both assist in formulating a legal strategy and to correct what the oligarch viewed as falsehoods in media coverage.

Davis maintains an extensive network of media contacts, regularly communicating with journalists at the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and other major outlets about his work with Firtash.

The U.S. charged Firtash with international racketeering for his role in an alleged scheme to bribe Indian officials for preferential access to titanium ore, which he intended to sell to Boeing. The Department of Justice unveiled its indictment of Firtash under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in April 2014, less than a month after his arrest in Vienna.

Firtash is notorious within Ukraine for his ties to former Ukrainian presidents, the Russian government and crime boss Semion Mogilevich. 

Firtash wielded significant sway within the administration of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, serving in multiple prominent government roles all the while funneling money from Russian gas company Gazprom to pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine. He was driven out following the 2014 overthrow of the Yanukovych government and has not returned to Ukraine since.

Firtash earned his billions as a close ally of Russian president Vladimar Putin, who assisted his business endeavors by giving him access to massive amounts of heavily-subsidized natural gas and extended lines of credit worth nearly $11 billion. Reports suggest Putin oversaw the sale of gas assets to Firtash with the expectation that he would use his new wealth to influence Ukrainian politics in his favor.

He also rose to power with the aid of Semion Mogilevich, the “boss of bosses” of the Russia mafia who spent six years on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list. The FBI described Mogilevich as “the most dangerous mobster in the world” and Firtash allegedly admitted to a U.S. ambassador that Mogilevich was the true power behind his ownership in gas company RosUkrEnergo.

The Guardian reported that Firtash “acknowledged that he needed, and received, permission from Mogilevich when he established various businesses.” Mogilevich challenged those reports and took legal action against The Guardian’s Luke Harding for his 2014 report on the allegations.

As co-counsel for former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, Davis was at the heart of litigation surrounding President Trump’s alleged affair with Stormy Daniels and the federal investigation into Cohen himself. Cohen is currently serving a 3-year sentence in a New York federal prison.

Note: This story has been amended to include an updated statement from Lanny Davis.

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