Indicted Ukrainian gas oligarch Dmytro Firtash spent more than $1 million hiring key figures in Republican efforts to investigate the Biden family.
His lawyers—who often go on Fox News to defend President Trump—say they needed the dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden to demonstrate that Firtash’s prosecution was politically motivated.
But the two men have a history. Two Ukrainian gas industry experts say the gas-market reforms pushed by Biden and others in 2014 and 2015 hit Firtash in the wallet, and badly. One knowledgeable outside observer estimated that the 2014 and 2015 gas reforms and legislation cost him hundreds of millions of dollars.
On Dec. 9, 2015, Biden gave a speech to Ukraine’s parliament. He praised the protesters who forced out Ukraine’s Russia-friendly president, he recited Ukrainian poetry, and he called for reforms to Ukraine’s gas market, too.
“The energy sector needs to be competitive, ruled by market principles—not sweetheart deals,” he said, basking in the audience’s repeated applause.
Firtash, who built his fortune in part through a rather sweet gas-trading deal, hated it. Earlier this year—more than three and a half years after the talk—he was still seething. Firtash told The Daily Beast that the Ukrainian parliamentarians in the audience were humiliatingly subservient to Biden.