MOSCOW, June 7 (RIA Novosti) – There will be no prisoner swap involving convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout and former Federal Security Service (FSB) Colonel Valery Mikhailov who was sentenced for spying for the United States, a top security service official told RIA Novosti on Thursday on the condition of anonymity.
“This variant is impossible since the harm that Mikhailov did to Russia is very large. If a swap operation (with Bout) takes place, Mikhailov will not participate in it,” the official said without elaborating who can take part in Bout’s swap deal.
The security official’s comment came after reports in the Russian media suggesting a possible swap deal to be carried out between Bout and Mikhailov, who the CIA calls one of its most successful agents.
Earlier this week Mikhailov was sentenced to 18 years in a high-security prison for divulging state secrets to the CIA.
Bout who is due to be transferred to a medium-security prison in Marion, Illinois, was sentenced to 25 years in prison by a New York Federal Court for planning to sell arms to the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC). He was arrested after U.S. agents posed as arms buyers in a “sting” operation. Bout has always denied the charges against him.
Attorney General Eric Holder said earlier the United States may consider Bout’s extradition to Russia if they receive a request from the Russian authorities.