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UBJ AM News: Feb. 22, 2017
A Ukrainian businessman could be extradited to the U.S., Kharkiv International Airport draws notice from Europe, and international investment banks are seeing Ukraine in a new light.
image/svg+xml Kyiv Lutsk Rivne Zhytomyr Lviv Ternopil Khmelnytskyi Uzhgorod Chernivtsi Vinnytsia Chernigiv Sumy Kharkiv Poltava Cherkasy Kirovohrad Lugansk Dnipropetrovsk Donetsk Zaporizhzhia Mykolaiv Odesa Kherson Simferopol Sevastopol Ivano- Frankivsk

An Austrian court granted an American request for the extradition of controversial Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash to Chicago for trial on bribery charges. However, Spain also has an arrest warrant out for Firtash, and the Austrian justice minister said a judge would have to decide which of the two countries has precedence in prosecuting Firtash.

Kharkiv International Airport was recognized as one of Europe's standouts for increases in passenger volumes in 2016, Novoe Vremya reported. A report by Airports Council International Europe states that the 60.1 percent uptick Kharkiv's airport saw last year ties it for the fifth-best rate of growth among airports serving less than 5 million passengers per year. Kharkiv International handled almost 600,000 passengers last year, a rebound that put the facility within an eyelash of its all-time high of 605,000 in 2013.

The new majority owner of the Karpatnaftokhim petrochemical plant previously owned by Russia's Lukoil is Ilham Mamedov, the former head of Lukoil-Ukraine, the country's monopoly regulator announced. The plant in the Ivano-Frankivsk region was shuttered in 2012 but is on track to restart.

International investment banks are starting to show willingness to open offices in Ukraine, according to Unian, which quoted Deputy Finance Minister Oksana Markarova. Previously, investment banks had no interest in the country because of its dearth of midsize businesses. But Markarova said Morgan Stanley and Lazard are now looking into opening offices in Ukraine.

In 2016, Ukraine increased imports of nuclear fuel from the United States fivefold, Novoe Vremya reported, citing Ukrainski Novyny. American energy giant Westinghouse has benefited from the geopolitical shift, taking business that used to go to Russia's TVEL.

Ukravtodor and the Infrastructure Ministry signed an action plan to reform Automobile Roads of Ukraine over the next three years, Interfax Ukraine reported. These agencies will control the reform process. "In July 2016 a new team under my presidency was set up with a view to transform the company, which serves 97 percent of Ukrainian roads, from unprofitable and almost unusable to a cost effective and competitive structure in the market." company head Artyom Hrynenko said.

The Ukrainian Sea Port Authority is exploring opportunities for port development in the Danube region, and the endeavor is likely to include changes in the tariff policy at those ports, Interfax Ukraine reported. Agency head Raivis Veckagans said the new policy will interest both public and private entities.

African swine fever outbreaks were recorded in the Odesa, Poltava, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv and Rivne regions. This is the first time the disease has appeared in the Ivano-Frankivsk region.

The Cabinet authorized Economic Development and Trade Minister Stepan Kubiv to sign a bilateral investment treaty with Qatar, Ukrinform reported. Also, Ukraine is looking at potential cooperation with Qatar in developing ports, according to Novoe Vremya.

Retail trade turnover increased 3 percent in January from the same period last year, the State Statistics Service reported.

For comments and news tips, please email UBJ AM editor David Edwards at david.edwards@theubj.com.

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