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Pattaya Daily News

07 March 2008 :: 16:03:13 pm 30094

Merchant Of Death Caught In Bangkok

Notorious international arms trafficker, Viktor Bout, was caught yesterday in Bangkok attempting to sell cutting edge weaponry to a group he believed to be?Colombian Farc (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebels, but were, in fact, US agents.
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Viktor Bout, is alleged to have sold arms to the Taleban in Afghanistan and al-Qaeda during the 1990s, amongst others, was caught in a joint Thai-Us police sting operation, which had been ongoing for four months. He had allegedly been trying to sell million of dollars-worth of ground-to-air missiles and armour-piercing rocket launchers.

Using military cargo planes left abandoned on runways after the fall of the communist regime, Viktor Bout, ex-KGB major, built up a thriving arms business, channelling weapons through a series of front companies to war-torn parts of Africa. He has been accused of supplying arms to UN embargoed states, including Bulgaria, Slovakia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. He was also involved in selling weapons to warring factions in African states, such as Angola, the Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, the Democratic of Congo, the Congo Republic and Sudan.

The US placed sanctions on Mr Bout in 2006, seizing his fleet of cargo planes and freezing many of his assets, but so far he has never faced prosecution.

Pol Maj Gen Pongpat Chayaphan told a Bangkok press conference that Bout was arrested after a Bangkok court issued a warrant against him for attempted mass murder. “He is now in the custody of the Crime Suppression Division. We will take legal action against him here, before deporting him to face trial in another country, likely the US,” he said. Police have charged him with trafficking arms in Thailand “If he is found guilty of the charge he will spend two to 10 years in jail here,” said Pol Lt Gen Adisorn Nonsri, Commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau.

For more on this breaking story,
follow this BBC news lead

For 15 years, Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout has run guns to African warlords and Islamic militants, reaping him hundreds of millions of dollars. So why hasn’t the U.S. stopped him? Because we needed him. By Douglas Farah and Stephen Braun

The U.S. government paid a wanted international criminal roughly $60 million to fly supplies into Iraq in support of the war effort, a new book alleges.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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