A Russian entrepreneur accused of smuggling American technologies to Russian arms manufacturers may have received help from Russian security services to flee house arrest in Italy, the Italian newspaper la Repubblica reported, citing unnamed sources.
Artyom Uss, 40, the son of the governor of Russia’s Krasnoyarsk region, is known to have removed his electronic bracelet and to have traveled by car with an unknown driver from the Cascina Vione complex in the countryside around Milan, before using a fake passport and a private plane to flee the country.
La Repubblica said that the governor’s son may have been aided in his escape by a whole “network of accomplices” connected to Russia’s secret services.
Those investigating the case believe that the Russian secret services may have provided Uss with a cover to avoid being quickly discovered following his disappearance.
Ten days prior to Uss’s escape, his wife, who lived with him in Italy, traveled to Moscow. The whereabouts of the entrepreneur is currently unknown.
The Italian news outlet Cagliaripad speculated that Uss may be hiding out on the island of Sardinia, where he owns property.
Italian prosecutors on Monday met with U.S. diplomats in Milan to discuss a potential joint investigation of the Russian entrepreneur’s escape.
Uss was one of five Russians detained at Milan’s Malpensa Airport at Washington’s request on Oct. 17, 2022, over “unlawful schemes to export powerful” U.S. military technology to Russia.
Uss faces a number of charges in the U.S., including sanctions violations and money laundering that could see him sentenced to decades in prison.
The entrepreneur has pleaded not guilty to the charges and in court requested to be handed over to the Russian authorities.
On March 21, 2023, an Italian court approved Uss’s extradition to the U.S., while an appeal filed by his defense was rejected last week.