The Kremlin has threatened retaliatory action after authorities arrested Artyom Uss, the son of a high-ranking Russian official, at the request of the United States, for allegedly participating in sanctions evasion and money laundering schemes.
Uth, who was detained in Milan, illegally obtained U.S. military technology and licensed Venezuelan oil to support Russia’s war effort in Ukraine, according to charges released this week by the U.S. Department of Justice. An indictment was filed in connection with the plan.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “We categorically oppose this and condemn this practice of arresting Russian citizens.
Uss’ father, Alexander Uss, governor of Russia’s Krasnoyarsk region, has suggested the arrest was politically motivated, according to TASS.
Another Russian government spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said Moscow would not let the US search for Russians go “unanswered”, accusing the US of “taking hostages for political purposes”. TASS reported.
Uss wasn’t the only one charged with money laundering and smuggling schemes. Uss he co-owned a trading company called Nord-Deutsche Industrieanlagenbau GmbH (NDA GmbH).
The United States and its co-conspirators are accused of using NDA GmbH to ship advanced semiconductors and microprocessors to Russia for fighter jets, missile systems, smart munitions, radars and satellites.
“Some of the same electronic components obtained through a criminal plot were found on a Russian weapons platform seized on a Ukrainian battlefield,” the Justice Department said in a statement, adding that the defendant had a “sophisticated network.” added that it had developed It has undermined security, economic stability, and the rule of law around the world. ”
A group of conspirators also allegedly transported hundreds of millions of barrels of oil from Venezuela to Russian and Chinese entities, including at least one licensed oligarch.
The 12 indictments indicted a total of five Russian citizens, including Yuri Orekhov, Svetlana Kzlugasheva, Timofei Telegin and Sergei Turyakov. Indicted for setting up illegal oil deals with state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA
According to court documents, one of the co-conspirators openly admitted that NDA GmbH was working for licensed oligarchs.
“he [the oligarch] are also sanctioned,” said Orekhov. “That’s why we [are] work for this company [NDA GmbH]. As a front desk.
Russia has long helped Venezuela evade sanctions around the world. But the latest indictment exposes the multi-layered sanctions the US has imposed on both Russia and Venezuela.
The United States has imposed sanctions on Venezuela for more than 15 years, and in recent years imposed restrictions on Venezuela’s national oil company and other entities to pressure Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro to relinquish power. ing.
Sanctions on Russian banks in recent months were imposed in an attempt to isolate Moscow on the world stage while Russia attacked Ukraine, according to the US Congressional Research Service, and Venezuela’s ability to access its assets. are likely to be damaged. But rising oil prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine appear to be helping Venezuela’s economic recovery, according to the CRS.
Task Force KleptoCapture, a Department of Justice group established earlier this year to punish Russia for its war in Ukraine and impose sanctions on Russian oligarchs, has announced the indictment, along with other DOJ entities.
“Eradicating military technology export control evasion is one of the task force’s top priorities,” said Andrew Adams, head of the task force’s KleptoCapture, in a statement. , the web of an international network of crooks failed to protect Orekhov and his associates from arrest by U.S. law enforcement.”
It is not clear what Russia will do in response to the US arrest.
When asked Thursday whether the US arrest was related to negotiations to release Britney Griner from Russia, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to speculate.
“The president will spare no effort to bring the American people home,” Jean-Pierre said at a press conference.