Carlo Nordio speaking. The Italian Justice Minister appeared in the Lower House of Parliament to report on the investigations – and the ongoing controversies – regarding the escape of Artem Uss, a Kremlin-connected Russian businessman who fled house arrest in March (and re-emerged in Moscow) while awaiting extradition to the US.
- Mr Nordio retraced the circumstances that led to Mr Uss being granted house arrest, contrary to both his ministry and the US’ recommendations…
- … and he spoke of an investigation to understand the possibility of freezing the Russian manager’s assets in Italy.
The government’s probe. On Wednesday, Minister Nordio initiated disciplinary action against the judges in Milan who had placed Mr Uss under house arrest, despite the high risk of him fleeing. That sparked controversy between him and some members of the judiciary, who replied it was in his ministry’s power to request the subject’s incarceration.
- Speaking to MPs, the minister reiterated the government’s line: the judges’ decision to place Mr Uss under house arrest with an electronic ankle bracelet was a “gross and inexcusable negligence.”
Uncertainty and doubts. If anything, this saga reflected poorly on the Italian government’s handling of the US recommendations, especially in the context of the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine. That’s why Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, who spoke to the Senate as Minister Nordio was in the Lower House, sought to reiterate that “the relationship with the US is and will continue to be solid and loyal, just as unconditional is the government’s support for Ukraine.”
- He was speaking during a question time called by Enrico Borghi, member of the Democratic Party and head of the Intelligence Committee, who replied that other countries would read “a degree of institutional unreliability” in these events.
- FM Tajani will travel to Washington in the following weeks, and the Uss case may well be one of the main dossiers on the table.