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A Mysterious Case of Victor Bout
March 11, 2011 15:07

At the beginning of March, a hearing on the case of Russian businessman Victor Bout has started. The hearings were held in Federal Court of Southern District of New York in Manhattan. In the U.S. Russian businessmen is accused of arms trafficking, terrorists cooperation and numerous financial frauds.

In the U.S. 43-year old Victor Bout is often called "a merchant of death". American authorities accuse him on four counts of criminal conspiracy: one with an aim to kill an american, another one — to murder the officials, the third one aiming to sell and buy an antiaircraft missiles and the last one with an aim to sell weapons to terrorist organizations. In addition, Bout is charged with money laundering and other financial fraud. Also he was suspected of secret Russian agencies collaborating.

It was supposed that pre-trial hearing on March, 3 would be devoted to the formal approval of a new team of lawyers of Mr. Bout, but the defence decided to take this opportunity to raise some more questions. In particular, they talked about changing the condition of Bout's imprisonment.

According to RIAN, "Bout's wife Alla earlier complained that her husband, a vegetarian, did not get proper food and his menu did not comply with the prescribed medicine that he has been taking for the last two months". His wife also added that during the detention in Thailand, her husband contracted tuberculosis and although he received antibiotics, he needed some more vitamins as well, she said. "It's impossible to maintain one's health under these conditions," she said, expressing concern that his health will deteriorate before the trial". The court has approved the majority of requests. The most important thing is that the defence managed to transfer the beginning of the process from September, 12 to October, 11. The defence has convinced the court that the new band of lawyers needs some more time to review the case.

According to Canadian Press, "Andrew Harkuscha, a family consultant who translated Alla Bout's words for reporters who did not speak Russian, said Alla Bout visited with her husband for several hours each Monday. At other times, he said, Bout occupies his time by studying languages, listening to classical music and reading books".

Bout was detained in Thailand in 2008. In cooperation with American authorities, Royal Thai Police arrested Bout in Bangkok. The United States demanded his extradition, which was eventually mandated by the Thai High Court in August 2010, according to Wikipedia.

Bout supposes the US case against him is politically motivated. According to BBC News, "the Russian authorities have supported him throughout, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov vowing to fight to secure his return to Russia and labelling the Thai court's decision "unjust and political".

There are so many questions on this strange case. According to, "Victor Bout is reported to be the largest arms dealer in the world for more than 10 years now, however, nobody during all of these years was able to show evidence to support this allegation or to bring charges against Victor". Also the source says that Johan Peleman, the UN expert on arms trafficking stated in his report to the UN Security Council that Victor indeed is an arms trafficker, but neither his allegations were proven to be true, nor his alleged evidence were genuine. According to the source, Victor Bout never was an arms dealer, nor had he a business empire that spanned the globe.


Tags: Russian business     

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