Asia

Viktor Bout biography: 13 things about Russian arms dealer born in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Viktor Anatolyevich Bout (Виктор Анатольевич Бут) is a Russian arms dealer born in Dushanbe, Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic, Soviet Union. Created on December 5, 1929, the republic was renamed the Republic of Tajikistan on August31, 1991 and declared its independence from the disintegrating Soviet Union on September 9, 1991.

Bout holds at least four passports and speaks English, French, Portuguese, Arabic and Farsi. He is Sergei Bout’s younger brother.

Viktor is also known as Merchant of Death, Sanctions Buster, Vadim Markovich Aminov, Viktor Bulakin, Viktor Butt, Viktor Budd and Boris. Here are 13 more things about him:

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  1. He served in the Soviet Armed Forces. He was a translator and he held the rank of lieutenant. In the late 1980s, he was involved with a Soviet military operation in Angola, assisting the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in the Angolan Civil War.
  2. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union on December 26, 1991, he was discharged from the Soviet Army and became a Russian citizen. He graduated from the Military University of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation (Военный университет Министерства обороны Российской Федерации) in Moscow, Russia.
  3. In 1992, he married Alla Bout. They have one child together.
  4. In 1993, he started collaborating with Richard Chichakli, who was hired in 1995 to be the commercial manager of the new free-trade zone of the Sharjah International Airport in the United Arab Emirates. He used the UAE’s free trade zone with Chichakli as his financial manager.
  5. In 2000, he was charged in the Central African Republic with forging documents. He was convicted in absentia but the charges were later dropped.
  6. In 2002, an International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) red notice on him was issued.
  7. In 2004, he and Chichakli set up Samar Airlines in Tajikistan to conduct money laundering activities and protect assets from authorities. In the same year, his United States assets were frozen.
  8. On March 6, 2008, the Royal Thai Police arrested him in Bangkok, Thailand based on an Interpol red notice requested by the U.S. On March 7, 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice charged him with conspiracy to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, conspiring to kill Americans, conspiring to kill American officers or employees and conspiring to acquire and use an anti-aircraft missile.
  9. In February 2010, he was charged with illegal purchase of aircraft, wire fraud and money laundering. On August 20, 2010, a higher court in Thailand ruled that he could be extradited to the U.S. On November 16, 2010, he was extradited from Thailand to the U.S.
  10. On November 2, 2011, a jury convicted him at a federal court in Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA.
  11. On April 5, 2012, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison. In June 2012, he was held at the United States Penitentiary, Marion in Southern Precinct, Williamson County, Illinois, USA
  12. In June 2020, Moscow announced the possibility of a prisoner swap exchanging Paul Whelan for him and Konstantin Yaroshenko.
  13. He was 55 years old when he was released from the USP Marrion back to Russia on December 8, 2022 in a prisoner exchange for Brittney Griner.
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