"Merchant of Death" faces charges in Thailand, extradition

(dpa) - Thai police on Friday charged Viktor Bout, 41, one of the world's most notorious weapons traffickers who was arrested in Bangkok on Thursday, with arms dealing in Thailand, postponing his anticipated extradition to the United States.

"If he is found guilty of the charge he will spend two to 10 years in jail here," said Police Lieutenant-General Adisorn Nonsri, Commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau.

But other police sources said the charges were expected to be dismissed in court, paving the way for Bout's extradition to the US where he has been charged with conspiracy to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to Colombian rebels, according to the US Justice Department.

"The US has been chasing this man for almost a decade," Adisorn told a press conference.

Acting on a tip-off from the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Thai police arrested Bout on Thursday at the Sofitel Silom Hotel in Bangkok hours after he arrived from Moscow.

"We have warrants for Mr Bout and we do intend to extradite him," said Thomas Pasquarello, the Bangkok-based regional director for the DEA. "He's called the Merchant of Death and the Man of War for a reason," Pasquarello told the press conference.

Bout, who has been dubbed as the "Merchant of Death" by a British government official, sat stony faced throughout the press conference, flanked by ten Thai commandos.

Bout was arrested while "discussing business" with five other Russian nationals and one British national in the hotel. The six men who met Bout were released as Thai police found no evidence that they had criminal records, police sources said. 

In Washington, the Justice Department said Bout's arrest was the result of close cooperation between US and Thai authorities. The United States said they would seek his extradition.

Adisorn said he had yet to receive an extradition request from Russia. He added that negotiations on Bout's extradition would need to await the outcome of Thai charges against the Russian.

The charges Bout faces in the US stem from a sting operation in which he and an accomplice allegedly agreed to sell weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which is designated a terrorist organization in the United States.

Bout and Andrew Smulian offered to sell and deliver surface-to-air missiles, helicopters and armour-piercing rocket launchers in a series of phone calls and emails to two DEA informants posing as FARC members.

Bout and Smulian were apparently led to Thailand by the informants to close the deal and were arrested by Thai police, the DEA said.

Thai police are hunting for Smulian, said Adisorn.

A former officer in the Soviet army, Bout has since become one of the most notorious arms dealers in the world, accused of selling weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan and to the al-Qaeda terrorist network. Bout has denied the past charges.

Bout and Smulian face up to 15 years in prison on charges of conspiracy to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization. The charges were unsealed Thursday in a New York federal court.

US Attorney Michael J Garcia in a press conference said the arrest ended "the reign of one of the world's most wanted arms traffickers."

"Viktor Bout and Andrew Smulian agreed to arm terrorists with high-powered weapons that have fueled some of the most violent conflicts in recent memory," Garcia said.

The 2005 movie Lord of War, starring Nicholas Cage, was supposedly inspired by Bout, and the 2007 book Merchant of Death - Money, Guns, Planes and the Man Who Makes War Possible is an expose of his life.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Transport infrastructure in Karabakh to turn Azerbaijan into logistics hub between Central Asia and Europe – CAERC
Transport infrastructure in Karabakh to turn Azerbaijan into logistics hub between Central Asia and Europe – CAERC
Activities in Iran’s Imam Khomeini port down
Activities in Iran’s Imam Khomeini port down
Kazakhstan reports increase in maritime transport volumes
Kazakhstan reports increase in maritime transport volumes
Loading Bars
Amazon invests in 274 renewable energy projects globally
World Bank backs using $280 mln in frozen aid funds for Afghanistan
Cavushoglu, Blinken discuss situation in Azerbaijan and Armenia
Alec Baldwin on fatal movie set shooting; ‘I didn't pull the trigger’
Afghanistan's GDP likely to drop 20 pct in one year: UN
UAE reports its first case of COVID-19 variant Omicron
Moderna exec says company could have Omicron booster ready in March
UN says international migration rose last year despite Covid-19 impact
Kyrgyz border service reports shots from Tajikistan
Bennett declares ‘Yamam’ Israel’s national counterterrorism force
Transport infrastructure in Karabakh to turn Azerbaijan into logistics hub between Central Asia and Europe – CAERC
Four injured after old WWII aircraft bomb explodes in Munich - police
1st US case of COVID-19 omicron variant identified - Fauci
OPEC can elect new secretary general in January 2022 — source
President Erdogan talks bilateral relations with Crown Prince of UAE
Georgia to receive special PCR tests to detect new Omicron variant of coronavirus
Qatar Airways to launch flights to Uzbekistan from Jan 17, 2022
Iran military clashes with armed men on Afghan border
Armenia found itself in complete military-political isolation even within CSTO - Russian military expert
Net foreign assets in Azerbaijan grow for 10M2021
New geopolitical situation in region opens way for Azerbaijan’s further development - ambassador
Ambassador of Kazakhstan expresses condolences to Azerbaijan due to helicopter crash
Azerbaijan working on reconstruction railway line which is part of Zangazur corridor (PHOTO)
SOCAR’s STAR refinery tests numerous types of crude oil
Azerbaijan considering sending medical workers of Baku clinics to district hospitals
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 1,795 more COVID-19 cases, 1,967 recoveries
Azerbaijani National Depository Center opens tender to buy new generation security system
Georgia boosts honey exports
Solar PV growth to surpass wind in EU in 2021-2026
Servicemen injured in Azerbaijani helicopter crash talk about incident (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Turkmen company exports paper products to Uzbekistan, Turkey
Iranian companies express readiness to restore factories in Syria - minister
Azerbaijani, Armenian FMs to meet in Sweden
President Ilham Aliyev receives EU Special Representative for South Caucasus (PHOTO/VIDEO)
US Marshall Legacy Institute sends eight more mine detection dogs to Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price rebounds
Azerbaijani agency shares data for mine detection, clearing work in liberated territories
Central Bank of Azerbaijan opens tender to insure fixed assets
Azerbaijan’s 10M2021 oil exports to Spain revealed
Uzbek Statistics Committee shares data on volume of retail trade turnover
Georgian medics advise reconsidering COVID-19 passports issuance
Overview of Uzbekistan's volume of wholesale trade turnover dynamics between 2010-2020
Price indexes of construction, trade sectors at Uzbek stock exchange fall
Georgia, IMF discuss new co-op program
Prices for goods and services in consumer market of Uzbekistan rise
Turkey’s diesel fuel exports to Georgia down
Georgia, NATO discuss further co-op and Black Sea security
Iran bans import of musical instruments due to lack of foreign exchange resources
Turkmen ministry prolongs tender for supply of metal blanks
IRENEX shares data on sales of Tabriz Oil Refining Company
Activities in Iran’s Imam Khomeini port down
Star Refinery satisfies about quarter of Turkey's refined petroleum product needs - CEO
Kazakhstan’s oil and gas company opens tender to supply fittings
Mobile phones rank first in Iran’s total imports - IRICA
Turkmenistan’s education ministry extends tender for setting drip irrigation system
Oil minister tells president, parliament that Iran's oil exports 'significantly grow'
Azerbaijan, Pakistan talk prospects for development of military co-op (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan's SOCAR Polymer exports increase over 10M2021
Iran unveils volume of dates export
Iran’s CBI reveals data on balance of bank loans
EU to exceed current renewable capacity plans for 2030
Azerbaijan reveals oil exports to Italy in 10M2021
Azerbaijan shares data on oil export to Croatia in 10M2021
Baku Metro provides ‘November 8’ station with backup power supply (Exclusive) (PHOTO)
Renewable electricity generation to exceed average annual growth rate of 2015-2020
Expansion of bioenergy for power capacity to slow down
Renewable energy capacity to expand by 2026, says IEA
Azerbaijan talks ongoing work to provide electricity to liberated Lachin district
Special representative of Azerbaijan's President in liberated territories within Karabakh economic region appointed
German Ambassador expresses condolences to Azerbaijan over deadly helicopter crash
Iran, Syria sign four cooperation agreements
Iran to invest in Syrian industrial towns
Austria extends COVID-19 lockdown by 10 days
Branch of Azerbaijan’s Balakhani Operating Company opens tender to buy pipes, pumps
Baku electric company opens tender to buy materials for lamp posts repair
Organization of social zone of Aghdam Industrial Park completes in Azerbaijan – minister
Deputy Prime Ministers of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia to meet in Moscow today
Azerbaijan’s Azerishig opens tender for reconstruction of substation in Sumgayit
Kazakhstan increases trade with India over 9M2021
Nar continues to grow IT professionals (PHOTO)
India provides medical, humanitarian aid to over 150 countries to deal with COVID-19: MEA
Georgia receives COVID-19 support grant from German Development Bank
Turkey-Azerbaijan trade turnover grows in October 2021
Kazakhstan reports increase in maritime transport volumes
SOCAR Petroleum to open new petrol station in Azerbaijan’s Gubadli district
SOCAR Georgia Gas increases gas tariffs
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for December 1
Azerbaijan discloses data on oil exports to Israel
Georgian cities receive EU grant for cultural development
Saudi Arabia reports first Omicron case coming from north Africa
Georgian FM expresses condolences for lives lost in crash of military helicopter
PMO records increase in cargo movements in Iranian ports
Turkey’s BOTAS increases gas imports
Hungary launches Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship programm
Russia working out celebration program for 30th anniversary of ties with Azerbaijan - MFA
Burial ceremony of Azerbaijani helicopter crash victims held in second Alley of Martyrs (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Georgian Embassy expresses condolences to Azerbaijan on helicopter crash
Iran to prepare budget bill with highest economic growth estimates - President Raisi
Construction and installation work under completion at Azerbaijan’s Khojasan metro station (PHOTO)
All news