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Who Is Viktor Bout: Is the Russian Arms Dealer Known as The ‘Merchant of Death’ Being Offered as A Prisoner Exchange for A U.S. Prisoner?

The fate of two American citizens detained in Russia may depend on the release of a Russian arms dealer convicted of murder, whose life story inspired a Hollywood film and was nicknamed the “Merchant of Death” by his accusers.

Viktor Bout, a former Soviet military officer, was sentenced to 25 years in prison in the United States on charges of conspiring to kill Americans, acquiring and exporting anti-aircraft missiles, and providing material support to a terrorist organization.
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Bout has maintained that he is not guilty of any wrongdoing.

Who S Viktor Bout?

Who Is Viktor Bout: Is the Russian Arms Dealer Known as The 'Merchant of Death' Being Offered as A Prisoner Exchange for A U.S. Prisoner?

Boris Bout’s sentencing in 2012 has been slammed as “baseless and biassed” by the Kremlin. According to people briefed on the matter, the Biden administration offered Bout a possible swap for American basketball star Brittney Griner and former US Marine Paul Whelan.

As part of her ongoing drug charges trial following her February arrest at a Moscow airport, Griner appeared in a Russian court on the same day. As part of an investigation into espionage, Whelan was arrested in 2018 and sentenced to 16 years in prison.

The White House has been urged by their families to secure their release, even if that means exchanging prisoners. Bout, a man who has evaded international arrest warrants and asset freezes for years, is now at the heart of that bid.

The Multilingual Russian Businessman Was Apprehended in 2008.

The multilingual Russian businessman was apprehended in 2008 in Thailand by US drug enforcement agents posing as members of Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces (also known as the FARC). After a lengthy legal battle, he was extradited to the United States in 2010.

For years, Viktor Bout has been the number one international arms trafficking enemy, arming some of the world’s most violent conflicts, according to US attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan at Bout’s 2012 sentencing hearing in New York.

For agreeing to provide an admitted terrorist organization with a staggering number of military-grade weapons with the intent of killing Americans, the man was finally brought to justice in an American court. When it came to supplying weapons to the FARC guerrilla group, which waged an insurgency in Colombia until 2016, the trial focused on Bout’s involvement.

Who Are the Weapons Designed to Kill American Citizens?

Who Is Viktor Bout: Is the Russian Arms Dealer Known as The 'Merchant of Death' Being Offered as A Prisoner Exchange for A U.S. Prisoner?

The United States claimed that the weapons were designed to kill American citizens. However, Bout’s ties to the arms trade go far beyond the borders of Russia. From Liberia to Sierra Leone and Afghanistan, bloody conflicts have been fuelled by shipments of military-grade weapons from a fleet of cargo planes assembled by him since the 1990s.

His American assets were frozen and any US transactions were halted in 2004 after he was accused of trafficking in Liberia. Bout has repeatedly claimed that he was merely a logistics provider for legitimate businesses.

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According to various passports and other documents, he is believed to be in his 50s.

A senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center who co-authored a book on Bout said in 2010 that “his early days are a mystery.” As reported by Farah, Bout was born in Dushanbe in 1967, the son of a bookkeeper and an auto mechanic, based on the information on his multiple passports.

Bout Graduated from The Military Institute.

Bout graduated from the Military Institute on Foreign Languages, a well-known school for Russian military intelligence, according to the author. An officer in the Russian military saw the opportunities presented by three factors: abandoned planes on Moscow-to-Kyiv runways that couldn’t fly due to lack of fuel and maintenance.

huge stores of surplus weapons that were guarded by guards suddenly receiving little or no pay; and booming demand for those weapons from traditional Russians.” During his time in Mozambique, Bout claimed to have served as an officer in the military. Farah told CNN that some people believe it was in Angola, where Russia had a significant military presence at the time.

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The United Nations Began Investigating Him.

Who Is Viktor Bout: Is the Russian Arms Dealer Known as The 'Merchant of Death' Being Offered as A Prisoner Exchange for A U.S. Prisoner?

When the United Nations began investigating him in the early to mid-1990s and the United States began to get involved, he became known as the subject of international attention. In the 2005 film “Lord of War,

” Nicolas Cage plays an arms dealer named Bout, who is thought to have been based on Bout’s real name, Victor Anatoliyevich Bout, as well as other aliases such as “Victor But,” “Viktor Bulakin,” and “Vadim Markovich Aminov.”

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