A Russian entrepreneur wanted by authorities in the United States revealed Tuesday that he had returned to Russia after escaping from house arrest in Italy, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported.
Artyom Uss, 40, the son of the governor of Russia’s Krasnoyarsk region, was one of five Russians detained last year at Milan’s Malpensa Airport at Washington’s request over “unlawful schemes to export powerful” U.S. military technology to Russia.
On March 22, Uss escaped house arrest in Italy by removing his electronic bracelet and traveling by car with an unknown driver, before using a fake passport and a private jet to flee the country.
“I’m in Russia! Over the past particularly dramatic days I was with strong and reliable people. I'd like to thank them,” Uss told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
The Italian newspaper La Repubblica earlier reported that the entrepreneur was likely aided in his escape by Russia’s secret services.
“The Italian court, whose impartiality I was originally counting on, revealed that it was politically motivated. Unfortunately, it’s ready to bend to the will of the American authorities,” Uss said.
The governor’s son faces a number of charges in the U.S., including sanctions violations and money laundering that could see him sentenced to decades in prison.
On March 21 an Italian court approved the entrepreneur’s extradition to the U.S., while an appeal filed by his defense was rejected.
In his interview with RIA Novosti on Tuesday, Uss explained that due to the current geopolitical climate, when the West engages Moscow “without any rules,” he was compelled to return to Russia through "unconventional means." He called his return a "victory."