(MENAFN) In a significant development, the United States State Department has announced a USD7 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Artyom Uss, a Russian entrepreneur indicted in New York on charges including money laundering, oil smuggling, and sanctions evasion. Federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York charged Uss and six others in October 2022, accusing them of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). The indictment was unsealed following Uss's detention at Milan's Malpensa airport while traveling to Türkiye via Italy.
Artyom Uss, the son of Krasnoyarsk Governor Alexander Uss, has claimed that the case against him is politically motivated. Uss's attorneys suggested that the United States might be seeking to use him as a bargaining chip for the release of Americans imprisoned in Russia, such as Paul Whelan, who was convicted of espionage in 2020.
Initially held under house arrest near Milan pending extradition, Uss managed to escape and disappeared after an Italian court agreed to extradite him to American authorities in March. He resurfaced in Russia a week later, expressing gratitude to "strong and reliable" individuals who aided him during what he described as "especially dramatic" days.
The State Department's bounty, offered under the Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program (TOCRP), aims to encourage individuals to provide information leading to the "arrest and/or conviction" of Artyom Uss for conspiring to participate in or attempting to participate in transnational organized crime. This development adds a new layer of complexity to the ongoing legal saga surrounding Uss, raising questions about the broader geopolitical implications and the intricacies of international legal cooperation.
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