MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s Treasury said it has frozen the assets held in the country by Russian businessman Artem Uss, who dodged Italian authorities trying to extradite him to the United States and fled to Russia last month.
Uss was under house arrest at his home in Basiglio on the outskirts of Milan, but he fled a day after a Milan court agreed to transfer him to the U.S. to face charges of shipping oil from Venezuela in breach of sanctions, and of bank fraud.
His electronic tracking tag sent out an alarm when he left the house but he had disappeared by the time police arrived at the villa.
In a statement released late on Friday, the Treasury said it had approved a decree freezing assets belonging to Uss in Italy, including a minority stake in a private company, his villa in Basiglio and a bank account containing more than 160,000 euros.
Uss told Russia’s RIA news agency earlier this month that the U.S. charges against him were politically motivated.
His escape has embarrassed the government and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has also criticised the initial decision to grant Uss house arrest.
Italy’s justice minister has begun disciplinary action against three judges who granted the house arrest, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said earlier this week.