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Friday, June 14, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Viktor Bout Faces New Charges

MANHATTAN (CN) - Federal prosecutors on Wednesday unsealed a superseding indictment against Viktor Bout, a suspected international arms smuggler whose exploits allegedly were chronicled in the Nicolas Cage movie, "Lord of War." Bout, who has been in custody in Thailand fighting extradition since March 2008, was indicted with an alleged U.S. conspirator, Richard Amar Chichakli, who has not yet been arrested.

The new indictments charge Bout and Chichakli with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act: trying to buy two airplanes from companies in the United States, in violation of economic. The indictment unsealed Wednesday also charges them with money laundering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, and six counts of wire fraud.

Bout has been fighting extradition on a previous, separate U.S. indictment accusing him of conspiring to sell weapons to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, to kill Americans in Colombia.

Bout is suspected of being a major gun runner for nearly 20 years, for most of that time with assistance from Chichakli. In addition to FARC, which the United States calls a terrorist group, Bout is suspected of selling weapons to unsavory characters and/or regimes in Afghanistan, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Sudan.

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