Alleged Russian arms dealer goes on trial in New York

The trial of suspected Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout will start on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.


Bout, 44, who was arrested in a U.S. sting operation in Thailand in 2008 and extradited to the U.S. in November 2010, denies all the charges against him. He could face anything from 25 years to life in prison if convicted.


Judge Shira Scheindlin will preside at the trial, while lawyer Albert Dayan will lead the defense team.


Prosecutors maintain that the Russian, dubbed the Merchant of Death by a British politician, was negotiating the sale of heavy weaponry to FARC, a Colombian militant group, when he was arrested in Bangkok in March 2008.


Prosecutors also plan to deliver arguments based on UN documents and Security Council Resolution 1532 pertaining to Liberian dictator Charles Taylor in 2004.


The UN resolution names Bout and instructs all UN member nations to freeze his assets for breaking an embargo of delivering arms to Taylor, as well as recommendations not to allow Bout into member countries.


In addition, prosecutors claim that Bout’s companies made arms deliveries to Angola in 1997 and the Congo in 1998, both of which were under UN sanctions at the time.


Leave a comment