Russian governor’s son detained in EU after US request
Two Russian nationals who are alleged to have helped Moscow evade American sanctions to obtain military and dual-use technologies, have been detained in the EU at the behest of the US. Alexander Uss, the governor of Russia’s Krasnoyarsk region and the father of one of the suspects, has described the case launched by the American authorities against the two as “clearly” politically motivated.
On Wednesday, the US Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York issued a statement, according to which it had brought charges against five Russian nationals, two of whom, Yury Orekhov and Artem Uss, had been arrested in Germany and Italy respectively.
The US authorities claim the group had crafted a scheme, whereby its members purchased “advanced semiconductors and microprocessors used in fighter aircraft, missile systems, smart munitions, radar, satellites” and sold them on to sanctioned Russian entities via a German-based shell company named Nord-Deutsche Industrieanlagenbau GmbH (NDA GmbH). These goods allegedly ended up in the hands of the Russian defense industry, and were supposedly later found in captured Russian hardware in Ukraine.
Moreover, the Russian nationals in question, acting in cahoots with several Venezuelan citizens, presumably used NDA GmbH “as a front to smuggle hundreds of millions of barrels of oil from Venezuela to Russian and Chinese purchasers, including a Russian aluminum company controlled by a sanctioned oligarch.”
If found guilty, the suspects could face up to 30 years each behind bars, the document revealed.
Commenting on the arrest of his son on his Telegram channel on Thursday, Governor Uss of Krasnoyarsk region wrote: “The delivery of petrochemicals, free-for-all equipment and technical means, which are freely sold and bought the world over, is all of sudden being declared illegal by US authorities.” “Why?” the official asked rhetorically, and answering his own question straight away: “Simply because it is being done for the benefit of Russia.”
“Political overtones are obvious in these accusations,” Uss concluded.
The news of the charges being brought against Russian citizens coincided with the arrest of a 47-year-old Russian national in Norway. Authorities in the Scandinavian country accused Andrey Yakunin of illegally flying a drone from his luxury yacht. The man is the eldest son of Vladimir Yakunin, the former boss of state-owned Russian Railways.