Who is Victor Bout? His story is nothing short of a spy thriller. Even a 2005 Hollywood movie, Warlord, is supposedly based on it. On Thursday (December 8), Russia traded its infamous arms dealer to the United States to free imprisoned Americans. basketball star Brittney Griner at Abu Dhabi airport.
Bout was jailed in 2008 on charges related to arms trafficking and was one of the most wanted men before his arrest. Known as the “merchant of death” and the “sanction buster,” Bout became the infamous arms dealer whose clients included rebel groups, militias and murderous warlords, fueling conflicts in Asia, South America South and Africa.
Biography of Viktor Bout
It is still a mystery about Victor Bout’s origin, but he was reportedly born in 1967 in Dushanbe, the then capital of Soviet Tajikistan. As a child, he reportedly attended the Dushanbe Esperanto club and became fluent in artificial languages. He used his command of English, Portuguese, French, Arabic, and Persian to build his international empire.
Bout served as a military translator during his stint in the Soviet Army, where he said he rose to the rank of lieutenant. But his breakthrough came after the collapse of the communist bloc in 1989-1991. He sold discarded Soviet-era weapons to Africa, Asia and other continents facing civil wars. Using the 60-year-old Soviet military aircraft based in the United Arab Emirates, he supplied his weapons services around the world.
According to the “Merchant of Death”, a book based on Bout’s life, he placed business above politics. He sold weapons to the Taliban, as well as his enemies in the pro-Western Northern Alliance. Bout reportedly sold the weapons to the Filipino Islamist militant and then-Liberian president and warlord Charles Taylor (now serving 50 years in prison on various charges).
Operation Sting on Viktor Bout landed him in prison
A US Drug Enforcement Administration sting operation tracked down Bout’s whereabouts and found him at a luxury hotel in Bangkok. He was caught on camera agreeing to sell 100 surface-to-air missiles, which will be used to kill US troops, to undercover US agents (posing as representatives of leftist FARC Columbia guerillas).
After this, he was arrested by the Thai police. But he denied all charges. Despite all the crimes he was accused of, he was sent to jail for conspiracy.
Why was Russia interested in bringing Viktor Bout back?
In 2012, he was convicted and sentenced to Manhattan prison for 25 years. But he served there for only 10 years when Russia finally got him back in exchange for American basketball star Brittney Griner.
the two-stroke Olympic The medalist and two-time World Cup winner was charged and sent to prison for possession of a single gram of cannabis oil in February 2022 when he came to Russia to play in the Russian Premier League. She was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Meanwhile, it’s an enigma how one man is so important to the Kremlin. There are allegations that he worked for Russian intelligence to further geopolitical objectives. Many alleged Bout’s involvement with Russian elites now close to Vladimir Putin while the former was serving in Africa (but Bout also denied this).
Thank you for reading. Leave us a comment if you liked it.
have a nice rest of the day
The charge Who is Viktor Bout, released from US prison in exchange for Britteny Griner with Russia first appeared in The SportsLite.