U.S. officials told suspected Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout that Moscow had sent assassins to Thailand and the United States to kill him, his wife said on Thursday.
At their next meeting, in Copenhagen, Smulian used the real name of his employer and even used his nickname, "The Merchant of Death."
At that point the undercover agents asked to see Bout in person in a risky bid to get him to leave Moscow.
"Comandante is not going to release these millions of dollars... until he at least shakes hands, talks, looks Bout in the eye, and then we can move on," Milione says. "And Bout went for it."
At one point the undercover agents said they wanted sniper rifle scopes so they can "start blowing the heads off of American pilots," Milione said, adding that Bout responded "Yes."
The agents said after two hours they had heard enough. They gave the signal and Thai police and DEA agents swept into the room. As Bout put his hands up, according to Milione, he muttered: "The game is over."
January 2, 2011
Russia's suspected arms dealer Viktor Bout, dubbed the "Merchant of Death," said he did not expect justice in the United States, in a rare interview from his New York prison published on Sunday.
"I think that the court will definitely be biased and not objective," he told RIA Novosti in comments relayed to the state news agency by Russia's deputy consul in New York.
"I say this based on the fact that the U.S. government intentionally distorted facts about my life and work in its charge sheet," he said.
Military analysts in Moscow said the arrest was a particularly sensitive blow for Russia because it threatened to expose potential links between government officials and the illicit arms trade.
"I was offered a more lenient sentence, a shorter prison term and the possibility to move my family to the U.S., if I told them all I knew about my connections in Russia and other countries. But I said I had nothing to tell them as I did not know anything they were interested in," Bout said.
The next hearing in the case of the former Russian officer, dubbed the Merchant of Death by global media, will be held on January 10
Q: Viktor, when did you realize that you would be extradited to the United States from Thailand and the extradition is irreversible?
A: This occurred on November 16, 17:30 local time. I was taken out of my cell on the pretext of being transferred to a new cell. I saw many police cars in the jail's yard, though cars never drove in there earlier. I saw many DEA [U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration] officers in jackets with badges. That's when I got it that my extradition will happen now.
The Thais brought me to the airport and changed my clothes in a separate room. Then I was handed over to U.S. agents.
Q: Have you heard of publications in the American press suggesting that a certain "Bout-for-Khodorkovsky" swap deal is being considered? What do you think of such rumors?
A: I think these rumors are ungrounded.
Bout's wife Alla, daughter Liza and mother Raisa arrived onboard a plane from Moscow, which landed in New York's JFK international airport several hours ago. They are set to support Bout during court hearings to begin later this year.
"I was offered a more lenient sentence, a shorter prison term and the possibility to move my family to the U.S., if I told them all I knew about my connections in Russia and other countries.
Pre-trial hearings in the case of Russian businessman Viktor Bout have been moved from January 10 to January 21, the court announced on Friday.
A spokesperson for Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin said the pre-trial hearing would now start at 16:30 EST (21:30 GMT) on January 21.
The wife of the alleged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, extradited to the United States from Thailand late last year, said on Monday she would petition to the U.S. Federal Court for his release on bail
Jailed businessman's relatives said they considered Russian government to give money for the bail and denied the claims, spread by Western media, that Bout's assets and bank accounts were of $6 billion cost.
"These accounts do not exist. We will ask Russia [about the bail]. We have nobody to ask for help anymore," Bout's wife said.
Alla Bout also said her husband had been infected with the tuberculosis bacillus that he could have caught in Thai overcrowded prison where many people suffered from the tuberculosis active form.
Russia is not discussing with the United States any possible swap deals concerning the alleged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, extradited to the United States from Thailand late last year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday.
The Americans expressed their regret for not warning Bout's wife that she had received a U.S. single entry permit instead of a visa, Lavrov said.
20 hours ago
Bout is also suspected of playing a key role in the clandestine deliveries of Russian arms to Syria and Iran by way of Belarus, which Ivan Safronov, a Russian journalist and military correspondent for the newspaper Kommersant, was investigating before he was mysteriously killed in 2007, when he apparently fell three stories from the window of his apartment building.
Despite his present refusal to cooperate with U.S. officials, the upcoming trial is bound to shed more light on Bout and Russia’s secret terror network.
The pre-trial hearing for the Bout case will commence at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, January 21, at the Southern District Court of New York, in the Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse in lower Manhattan
21 January 2011
The former Russian air force officer Viktor Bout, who is due to make a second appearance in a New York court today, had close relations with officials in the Kremlin, according to a well-placed source in Moscow.
For Russia it could be extremely embarrassing.
But it could be equally embarrassing for the United States and other Western countries, which are also alleged to have taken advantage of Mr Bout's services to fight their wars in different parts of the world.
A federal court in New York has set the beginning of a trial against alleged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for September 12, a U.S. judge said.
Alla Bout said U.S. authorities have granted her a three-hour visit with her husband on Monday. Usually such visits are limited to one hour.
Bout made a brief court appearance, with his mother Raisa, daughter Liza and wife Alla there as support, to hear that his trial would begin on September 12.
The wife of alleged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout described on Tuesday as a "political show" the U.S. authorities' decision to begin a trial against her husband on September 12, a day after the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
She said the trial was set on this date to flaunt the results of U.S. efforts against terror and the costly anti-terrorism campaign pursued by the United States in the past decade.
"I support a fight against terror, but will not let it be carried out at the expense of my family," Alla Bout told RIA Novosti in a video linkup from New York.
March 4, 2011
The Manhattan trial of an ex-Soviet military officer charged with conspiring to sell weapons to terrorists has been rescheduled so that his new lawyers can have more time to prepare.
Viktor Bout, 43, will be tried starting Oct. 1[---]
Joshua Milton Blahyi (born September 30, 1971), better known by his nom de guerre General Butt Naked
The feared rebel commander earned his nom de guerre for charging into battle dressed only in his boots, at the head of a gang of fighters known as the Butt Naked Battalion.
Ex-Soviet officer's lawyers in US blame politics
Lawyers for an ex-Soviet officer extradited to the United States to face conspiracy charges in federal court say the case should be thrown out.
They say that's because the U.S. used extreme political pressure to get Thailand to release him.
Papers filed Tuesday say the case against Viktor Bout was brought for "purely political reasons."