Moscow on Thursday confirmed the arrest in Italy of the son of a senior Russian official at Washington's request for alleged sanctions evasion and illegal sale of US technologies to Russian arms companies.
“Russian citizen (Artyom) Uss was detained on October 17 in Milan Malpensa Airport at the request of the United States,” Russia’s embassy in Italy said on Facebook.
Uss’s father is Alexander Uss, the governor of the Siberian region of Krasnoyarsk.
On Wednesday, the US Justice Department announced charges against a dozen individuals -- including five Russians -- for “unlawful schemes to export powerful, civil-military, dual-use technologies to Russia.”
It said some of these had “been discovered on battlefields in Ukraine, while another nuclear proliferation technology was intercepted before reaching Russian soil.”
The Justice Department also said five Russian nationals and two Venezuelan oil brokers had been charged with “participation in global sanctions evasion and money laundering schemes.”
One of them was arrested on October 17 in Germany while another in Italy -- both at the request of US authorities.
Uss was accused of having purchased electronic components from the United States intended to equip planes, radars and missiles, and having resold them to Russian arms companies by circumventing sanctions.
US authorities also believe the network “smuggled millions of barrels of oil and laundered tens of millions of dollars” to sanctioned entities, the US Department of Justice’s said.
Uss’s father denounced the arrests as political.
“The political coloring of these accusations is obvious,” Alexander Uss said on Telegram.
The arrest comes as Moscow and Washington are in negotiations on a potential prisoner exchange, that could include US basketball player Brittney Griner, sentenced to nine years in prison in Russia for drug trafficking.