NY prosecutors to base arguments on UN documents in Russian businessman arms trafficking case

New York’s South District prosecutors have sent a memorandum to the Federal Court showing arguments they will produce before a jury on a case against Russian businessman Viktor Bout, dubbed by the press as the Merchant of Death.

Bout, 44, is being held in a New York prison while he awaits trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in October on charges including conspiring to supply arms to terrorist groups and conspiring to kill U.S. nationals. He denies all the charges against him.

Prosecutors 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.

Prosecutors also say 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.

During a New York court hearing last week, Bout’s lawyer, Albert Dayan, said that a Russian witness familiar with Bout and Andrew Smulian, Bout’s alleged co-conspirator in supplying arms to Columbian terrorist groups, would give testimony in the case.

Bout was arrested in a U.S. sting operation in Thailand in 2008.

The alleged arms dealer could face anything from 25 years to life in prison if convicted. The trial is scheduled to begin on October 11.

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