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2 Jul, 2023 16:00

Viktor Bout to enter politics

The businessman who spent some 12 years in US prison will run for a local legislature in Russia
Viktor Bout to enter politics

Russian businessman Viktor Bout has been nominated as a candidate for the local legislature in the western Russian city of Ulyanovsk. He will run representing Russia’s right-wing Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR).

Bout was nominated by secret ballot during a regional party gathering on Sunday. His candidacy was announced after the vote by Dmitry Grachev, leader of the LDPR faction in the Ulyanovsk legislature.

The businessman spent more than 14 years behind bars, including 12 years in US prisons. Bout was taken into custody in 2008 during a sting operation in Thailand and was ultimately convicted by a US court on arms trafficking charges and sentenced to 25 years.

Bout has always maintained his innocence, insisting he had been merely caught up in geopolitics. He has told RT previously that he believes the case was an “experiment” by the US targeting him and his home country alike with sanctions.

Ultimately, the businessman ended up being swapped for US women’s basketball star Brittney Griner. The two-time Olympic gold medalist was arrested in Russia when banned cannabis vape oil cartridges were found in her luggage at a Moscow airport. The illicit substance got Griner nine years behind bars in August 2022, before a landmark prisoner exchange between Moscow and Washington in December.