The son of Uss will still be sent to the USA, not Russia

A court in Italy approved the extradition of the son of the governor of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, Artem Uss, to the United States. Within 15 days, the defense intends to appeal to the Court of Cassation. The 40-year-old businessman spent the last months under house arrest.

Uss Jr. was detained on October 17, 2022 at the airport in Milan at the request of the United States. He planned to fly to Turkey. He, four other Russians and two oil traders from Venezuela are accused of circumventing sanctions, illegally obtaining US military technology and Venezuelan oil, and money laundering.

On October 25, during a meeting at the Court of Appeal in Milan, Uss pleaded not guilty. According to him, the last time he was in the United States was 14 years old.

The US Department of Justice accuses Artem Uss and six other people of being

“arranged a complex scheme to illegally obtain US military technology and Venezuelan oil through multiple deals involving shell companies and cryptocurrencies.” In the US, they face up to 30 years in prison.

Uss was one of the owners of 50% of NordDeutsche Industrieanlagenbau GmbH. It is a privately owned trading company for industrial equipment and goods, based in Hamburg. The US authorities allege that the company was used as a shell company to buy secret military and dual-use technologies from US manufacturers. Including advanced semiconductors and microprocessors used in fighter jets, missile systems, munitions, radar, satellites and other space applications. These goods were supplied to Russian companies, including the sanctioned companies Radioavtomatika, Radioexport and Abtroniks. And they served the Russian defense sector. Some of the same electronic components obtained as part of the criminal scheme were found in Russian weapons found in Ukraine. Later, Uss Jr. was put on the international wanted list in Russia in a criminal case of money laundering on an especially large scale. The extradition of Artem Uss is also demanded by the Russian authorities. Uss Jr. himself asked for extradition to Russia in mid-January. According to La Repubblica, the detainee’s lawyers insisted that their client could be subjected to discriminatory treatment in an American prison. In addition, the defense of Uss stated that the US authorities intend to use their client for a future exchange with the Russian Federation. Lawyers believe that in exchange for Artyom, the US authorities can expect to get Paul Whelan, an American convicted in Russia for espionage. What awaits Artem Uss? Ruslan Koblev, Managing Partner of Koblev & Partners, commented:

– The United States is demanding the extradition of a Russian citizen, detaining him on the territory of another state, that is, artificially expanding its jurisdiction outside the United States. There is already a controversial situation here, because in another state there may not be criminal liability for circumventing sanctions at all. I’m guessing the main charge is evasion, laundering, I guess. From a legal point of view, the accusation is very far-fetched.

– There was a possibility that he would be extradited from Italy to the Russian Federation, what did he want?

– If in Russia there are grounds for bringing him to criminal responsibility, then there is always a competition between two requests for extradition. In recent years, Russia, often faced with an unreasonable demand for the extradition of Russian citizens from other states detained on the territory of other states, such an illegal expansion of US jurisdiction, has developed such a tactic – conditionally, criminal prosecution is initiated against a person in his homeland, and then competition between the two arises. requests for extradition, and the local court, deciding the issue of extradition, must, guided by an international convention, determine where to extradite a citizen: to the country of which he is a citizen, or to the United States. Therefore, there were cases when extradition was refused even in European states and a request for extradition to Russia was granted.

— What can be said about the prospects?

– The United States is forcibly extending its jurisdiction, I do not assume that a jury will acquit a Russian citizen in such compositions, based on the political situation.

Until the decision of the cassation court, nothing will happen. If the extradition to the United States is confirmed, then the process will be conducted according to the rules of the American court, to which this case will be transferred. And here the prospects are blurred, notes Eduard Bekeshchenko, a partner at Art De Lex law firm:

– This is a rather heavy accusation from the point of view of American justice, such striking examples of parallels can be said about Viktor Bout, who spent many years in an American prison and was recently exchanged. Therefore, I think this process will also be politicized, of course, these accusations are very serious, the term is quite long. Plus, American justice considers terms very interestingly, there can be terms of both 100 and 200 years, they add up for each offense in a separate term, they are all summed up, but, on the other hand, there may be subsequent discounts and concessions, and this can lead to to the fact that a person who is given to serve 200 years, in reality, sits much less and even goes free. But, on the other hand, if you look at the situation with Viktor Bout, it did not develop very well, if he had not been exchanged, he would have continued to sit without any relief, maybe even this will result in something more serious than with Viktor Bout.

– Russia would really like to get Uss, how likely is it?

– This is a very highly politicized issue. Yes, there are international agreements under which, among other things, citizens of foreign states are transferred to serve their sentences in the country of which they are citizens. This is all in international practice, all this is possible, but now we live in a rather changed world, when we are no longer looking at the rule of law, but at political expediency, I am sure that this will be a purely political decision.

Artem Uss is the only son of the Krasnoyarsk governor Alexander Uss. Born in April 1982. In 2004 he graduated from the law faculty of the Krasnoyarsk State University, and in 2008 from MGIMO. He regularly received government contracts for the supply of coal to various institutions of the Krasnoyarsk Territory. He is one of the founders of Sibugol LLC. The company’s revenue in 2021 amounted to almost 4 billion rubles, net profit – about 700 million. Uss Jr. was also closely associated with one of the main Krasnoyarsk developers. He owned a stake in the management company SM.City (liquidated in 2015). Finally, Artem Uss owns the very Hamburg company that appears in the criminal case.