The U.S. Justice Department indicted five Russians and two Venezuelan oil traders on sanctions evasion and money laundering charges. Among them is the son of the governor of the Krasnoyarsk krai Artem Uss, who has already been arrested.
According to the DOJ, Uss was arrested in Italy. The indictment also mentions the Russians Yuri Orekhov, Svetlana Kuzurgasheva, Timofei Telegin and Sergei Tulyakov, who, along with Artem Uss, are accused of money laundering and smuggling. Orekhov was arrested on October 17 in Germany. Courts in Italy and Germany will decide whether to extradite the arrested Russians to the United States.
U.S. prosecutors allege that the Russians tried to gain access to defense technologies from U.S. companies, smuggled oil and laundered money for Russian oligarchs and sanctioned organizations.
The defendants allegedly set up a scheme to sell oil through shell companies and cryptocurrency and participated in the purchase of sanctioned dual-use electronics to help the Russian military-industrial complex in its war with Ukraine. The scheme involved Venezuelan oil traders Juan Fernando Serrano Ponce and Juan Carlos Soto.
According to the DOJ, Orekhov and Uss were co-owners of Nord-Deutsche Industrieanlagenbau GmbH (NDA GmbH). It trades in industrial equipment and commodities and is registered in Hamburg, Germany. For example, it was used in purchasing microprocessors used in missile systems and munitions from U.S. manufacturers. Purchased items were supplied to sanctioned Russian companies. The components, the Justice Department said in a statement, were found in Russian weapons that the Russian army had lost in Ukraine.
Artem Uss is the founder of the company Sibugol, which has won state contracts to supply coal. The team of the oppositionist Alexei Navalny found upscale real estate worth 1.5 billion rubles in 2019, owned by his father, Governor Alexander Uss. Sanctions were imposed against the government official in July. Uss, along with the heads of several other regions, was “blacklisted” by the UK. The blacklisted officials have been completely forbidden to enter the country and their assets have been frozen there.