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10 Oct, 2008 09:06

Bout speaks out: accusations of illegal arms dealing are ‘sham’

A Russian man accused of being one of the world’s biggest illegal arms dealers has again spoken out to protest his innocence. Viktor Bout is currently being held in a Thai jail after an extradition request from the US.

The businessman, called the Merchant of Death in the West, was arrested in March while on holiday in Thailand at the request of the USA. The States accused him of trafficking weapons to UN-embargoed destinations including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola.

But Bout denies all the accusations. Although he admitted that his company was engaged in transporting weaponry, he insists that these operations were strictly legal.

In an interview with Kommersant newspaper he said: “They attempted to recruit me because we worked with Libyans and some other countries that the Americans had an interest in. And after I refused, the UN started a sham investigation.”

In Thailand he was released due to a lack of evidence, but was arrested again after the American extradition request. If extradited to the US he is likely to face a life sentence.

Merchant of Death or the Flying Dutchman of U.S. national security? Part 1
Part 4…