KIEV, May 12 (RAPSI) – Dmytro Firtash claims he was framed in the US bribery case tied to a $500 million titanium mining project in India, Ukrainian news agency UNN reported on Monday citing the Ukrainian businessman’s press office.

“I see now that I was framed and that this case is politically motivated. I think someone is deliberately doing this to me,” Firtash said.

Firtash, 48, who amassed his fortune as a broker in Russia’s gas sales to Ukraine, was arrested in Vienna on March 12 based on an FBI warrant. According to the bureau, an investigation on Firtash began in 2006 and resulted in bribery and organized crime charges. He was later released on EUR 125 million ($174 million) bail.

According to US attorneys, Firtash allegedly conspired with five other men and met with Indian government officials as part of an effort to pay $18.5 million in bribes to facilitate the titanium mining and marketing project.

The indictment requires that Firtash surrender his stake in Group DF Limited and its assets, including 159 companies in various countries and 41 bank accounts worth $10.59 million.

Firtash and the other defendants have been charged with racketeering and money laundering conspiracy, and with using threats and intimidation to advance the interests of their enterprise.

The men face 20 years in prison if found guilty.

The formal pretext for the involvement of US federal attorneys in this case is the alleged use of US banks for the defendants’ illegal financial transactions.