It has come to light that a man suspected of being a Russian spy and who was supposed to be extradited from Italy on charges of smuggling military technology to Moscow left the country in a Fiat Punto.
Artem Uss, who was 41 years old, was under house arrest in Basiglio, just south of Milan, until two weeks ago, when he broke out and went missing.
Mr. Uss, who is the son of the current governor of the Krasnoyarsk Krai region in Siberia, was accused of buying high-tech parts from US companies and sending them back to Siberia.
US prosecutors say that some of them ended up in Russian weapons that were used in the war in Ukraine, even though sanctions made it illegal to do so. Last year, he and three other people were charged.
Mr. Uss is also accused of breaking sanctions by sending oil from Venezuela to Russia and committing bank fraud.
But he took off his electronic tag bracelet and ran away a few hours after a Milan court ordered him to be sent back to the US on the second charge.
Local news reports say he got into a black Fiat Punto outside his house and drove three kilometers up the road before switching to one of four identical black SUVs waiting for him.
The four SUVs are then said to have gone in different directions, making it impossible to keep track of his movements.
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Russian Secret Service Agents
Now that Mr. Uss is back in Russia, he told the state-run news agency RIA Novosti this week that he was able to escape with the help of “strong and trustworthy people.”
Italian police are looking into whether or not Russian secret service agents were involved.
It comes after a Russian-Ukrainian couple was arrested in Spain on charges that they tried to send military equipment to Moscow in violation of an EU arms embargo.
In a statement, the National Police said they started looking into the two people in 2021 because they thought they were in charge of a supply chain for military aeronautical materials that were stolen from a Spanish company.
It was said that the decision to arrest the two people and search two properties in the Basque Country was made to stop a shipment of materials for use in Russian military aircraft cockpits from leaving Europe soon.
Investigators found that the two suspects had set up a complex network of business contacts around the world so that “the goods were sent to countries not subject to embargo, even though the final destination was Russia.”
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