Pattaya Daily News

04 October 2010 :: 13:10:27 pm 41838

Viktor Bout Returns to Court over Second Case Monday

Accused international arms dealer Viktor Bout arrived at Thailand's Criminal Court Monday sporting a flak jacket to hear a ruling on whether Thailand will drop the second case against the alleged arms smuggler.
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Bangkok, the 4th of October 2010:  An elusive Russian businessman dubbed “The Merchant of Death”, who is under legal process for extradition to the US, faced a second case concerning money laundering and wire fraud charges.

Accepted by Thailand’s Court of First Instance – at the earlier request of the US government —  and later the US government, has submitted a request that the charges be withdrawn in order to proceed with extradition.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva earlier said that the Thai government is awaiting a court decision on Mr Bout’s second case before making any final decision on his extradition to the US. The US government officially requested through the Thai Foreign Ministry to withdraw the second case.

Mr Abhisit however said the case now rests with the public prosecutors and the court, adding that the court may have to listen to the accused regarding whether or not he wants the additional charges to be dropped.

The Thai Court of Appeals ruled on August 20 to extradite Mr Bout to the US to face charges of conspiracy to kill Americans, conspiracy to kill officials and employees of the United States government, conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles and conspiracy to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organisation. The ruling of the Thai Court of Appeals to extradite Mr Bout overturned a lower court ruling in August 2009 that rejected a US request that Mr Bout face trial there.

Arrested at a luxury Bangkok hotel in March 2008, Bout was part of an elaborate sting in which US agents posed as arms buyers for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which the US government classifies as a terrorist organisation but Thailand recognises as a political movement.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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