Next hearing on Viktor Bout case due in January
The next hearing on the case of alleged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout is due in Manhattan federal court on January 10, 2011, District Court Judge Shira Scheidlin said Wednesday, RIA Novosti reported.
Bout, dubbed the Merchant of Death, was extradited to the United States on Tuesday after spending more than two and half years in Thai prisons. He was officially charged in a New York City court on Wednesday.
His charges include a conspiracy to supply arms to terrorist groups and a conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals. Bout has pleaded not guilty.
Scheidlin ordered that Bout, 43, be detained without bail. The defendant faces 25 years to life in prison if found guilty, Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said earlier Wednesday.
The attorney also said that another defendant in the case, Briton Andrew Smulian, admitted conspiring with Bout to sell arms worth millions of dollars to Colombian rebel group FARC and is cooperating with investigators. Bout has said his former friend Smulian is bearing false witness against him.
Former Russian army officer Bout was arrested in Thailand in March 2008 during a sting operation led by U.S. agents.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday it would continue to defend Bout and called the extradition "illegal."
Russian vice consul in New York Alexander Otchainov said consulate officials will meet with Bout later in the day.