Bout will not co-operate with US authorities – wife

Suspected Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout will defend his fair name in court, his wife Alla has said.

The Russian businessman does not intend to co-operate with the US authorities. Alla Bout knows from Russian diplomats what proposals Americans have made to her husband. But she stressed that any co-operation Viktor Bout with the US is “out of the question.”

All the proposals were “not a humanitarian mission,” his wife said at a press conference in Bangkok on Monday. They were made out of “fear of a fair and open trial,” she noted. During the proceedings many issues will emerge, “including wasted budgets, built careers and other details,” Itar-Tass quoted her as saying.

Viktor Bout was detained in Bangkok, Thailand in March 2008 on Washington’s request. In the US, he is charged with “conspiracy to kill US nationals” and providing material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization.

US special services suspect him, in particular, of arms supplies to Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). He denies the charges, maintaining that he was engaged in international air transportation business.

The US has “no evidence against Viktor,” otherwise it would have long ago been presented at the Thai court, Alla Bout said. The businessman intends to go to court to “clear his name of the lies.” He also wants to punish those who call him “the merchant of death” without proof.

The Bout family is considering steps to prosecute the filmmakers of the Lord of War movie, which, in Alla’s words, “has inflicted enormous damage” on her husband. She also denied the information that she and her daughter are “held hostage by Russia,” calling the allegation “another illustration of US propaganda.”

The extradition procedure in the Bout’s case violated the Thai law and international practice, Alla Bout said. The spouses were not even allowed to say goodbye. American agents seized the businessman’s belongings and “tried to send him to the airport barefoot.” 

Bout’s wife is not sure if she will get a US entry visa because she was going “to talk, to speak openly” to defend her husband.

She believes Bout was “demonized” by some US and British politicians and journalists. Suspicions of some UN staff members were exaggerated “to the size of a worldwide campaign,” the businessman’s wife said.

Someone in America wants to present Bout’s case as “the semblance of a major victory in the fight against terrorism,” she said. The problem of world intelligence agencies is that they cannot open to the public the details of really successful operations, she noted.

The information about Bout’s millions “is a myth,” his wife said, adding that as of today “he is totally bankrupt, he has no hidden assets.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier described Bout’s extradition from Thailand as “an example of blatant injustice.” Moscow repeatedly said the US authorities were seeking the businessman’s extradition by exerting “unprecedented political pressure” on Thailand.

Sergey Borisov, RT