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Italy Freezes Assets of Russian Fugitive Artem Uss

Italy's Treasury announced the freezing of assets held within the country by Russian businessman Artem Uss. Uss had evaded Italian authorities attempting to extradite him to the United States and escaped to Russia last month.

Italian Treasury Ministry
Italian Treasury Ministry

Fugitive's Escape from House Arrest

Uss was under house arrest at his residence in Basiglio, on the outskirts of Milan. However, he managed to flee a day after a Milan court approved his transfer to the U.S. to face charges related to shipping oil from Venezuela in violation of sanctions and bank fraud. His electronic tracking tag raised the alarm when he left the house, but police could not locate him upon arrival at the villa.

Treasury's Decree and Frozen Assets

In a statement released Friday, the Treasury approved a decree to freeze assets belonging to Uss in Italy. This includes a minority stake in a private company, his Basiglio villa, and a bank account containing over 160,000 euros.

Uss Claims Charges are Politically Motivated

Uss told Russia's RIA news agency earlier this month that the U.S. charges against him were politically motivated, further complicating the situation.

Italian Government's Response to Escape

Uss's escape has embarrassed the government, with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni criticizing the initial decision to grant him house arrest. Italy's justice minister has started disciplinary action against the three judges who granted the house arrest, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter earlier this week.