Italian authorities are searching for a Russian governor’s son who reportedly cut off his ankle monitor and fled house arrest after a court ruled in favor of extraditing him to the U.S., where he faces federal charges and up to 30 years in prison.
Artyom Uss, the son of Krasnoyarsk region Governor Alexander Uss, was on house arrest at an apartment in Milan when he made the daring getaway Wednesday, the ANSA news agency reports.
Uss, 40, was nabbed at a Milan airport in October at the request of federal prosecutors in the U.S. who say he violated sanctions and laundered millions of dollars. Uss is accused of using a company he owns with one of his alleged accomplices to buy up U.S. military technologies that ultimately wound up in the hands of the Russian military in Ukraine.
He is also accused of using the company to smuggle hundreds of tons of oil from Venezuela to China and Russia.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has demanded Uss be returned home, claiming the charges against him are part of a political witch hunt.
“The political bias is obvious here. It looks like a kind of hostage-taking masked in a legal form,” a representative for the ministry told Interfax.
In what sure looks like a dubious attempt to shield Uss from extradition to the U.S., a court in Moscow issued an arrest warrant for him shortly after news broke that he’d been taken into custody in Italy. The Russian warrant also accuses him of money laundering.