Businessman Artem Uss was arrested in Milan and was about to be extradited to the United States. But then he escaped – or was he released?
Reality sometimes comes across as fiction, as if it were co-written by a screenwriter. In any case, Italians follow the story of the Russian businessman’s escape from his house arrest in Passiglio, near Milan, with the kind of dark lust one might feel in a spy thriller. Every day a new chapter, new puzzles, even grotesque ones.
The 40-year-old son of Artyom Uss, the super-rich and Putin-friendly governor of Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk region, broke the electronic bracelet he was wearing on March 22. Outside, in front of the Borgo de Vion, a luxury residence, the accomplices waited in a fast car. When the alarm sounded, too late due to a malfunction in the equipment, Uss was already gone. It is not clear where the plane took him first: to Slovenia, to Switzerland? It is known that he returned to Russia after a few days.
It’s a win for the Kremlin, but a big bummer for the US. The Cold War, Reloaded. Between Italy, that should explain itself.
America really liked him
How does that happen? Why wasn’t Artyom Uss jailed as the Americans demanded? After all, he was accused of serious crimes. What about the Italian secret services, they know nothing? Where are the carabinieri who were supposed to be watching him on the day of his escape? The story is about how Russian oligarchs defy Western sanctions.
Artjom Uss was arrested at Milan’s Malpensa Airport in late November. He wanted to fly to Istanbul, but he didn’t seem afraid of anything. An international arrest warrant from New York held him. It said the USS smuggled millions in Venezuelan oil to China and Russia in violation of the embargo and defrauded banks.
After all, he allegedly bought semiconductors and microchips from the US through international shell companies used in fighter jets, missile systems, radar and satellites. The charge is military espionage. It should help the Russian armed forces in their war in Ukraine. The US wants to extradite the descendants of Russian Junice Dory and train lawyers so they can put him on trial. He faces up to thirty years in prison.
Italy’s justice minister says house arrest is as safe as prison.
Washington asked the Italians to keep Artjom Us safe because of the high risk of escape. But the Italian judiciary decided otherwise: Uss was placed under house arrest. Italy’s justice minister said it was as safe as prison, along with chains.
Uz was allowed to have his two mobile phones, he also had internet and he was also allowed to receive people in Borgo de Vion. From time to time the Carabinieri stopped by the local station as a matter of routine. So it cannot be said that the Italians took Washington’s concerns too seriously. The day after Uz was deported, he disappeared. Everything was planned.
Since then, Italian newspapers have carried undated photographs of the businessman, the most popular now showing him with long hair and sunglasses: very attractive. Italians now know that this Artyom Uss loves their country. He owns land and a hotel in Sardinia.
When the son returned to Moscow, the father from Siberia also made himself heard. Alexander Us thanked Putin for calling him “a man with a big heart”. He also thanked “many sincere friends of our country who are helping us”. Did Uz also have Italian smugglers?
Italy’s prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, spoke of “contradictions” in the case that needed to be fully clarified — perhaps deep within the persistent Putin factions of her right-wing ruling coalition. Meloni himself is close to Kiev, loyal to the West. The spy story has become a political case with an obvious conclusion.
Oliver Meyer He is an Italian reporter. Studied Political Science at Geneva. Author of the book “Agromafia” (dtv, 2021).More info@OliverMeiler