What Does Viktor Bout Know? Arms dealer coming to America to stand trial
Judging by the photo accompanying the story, he doesn’t seem very concerned.
It looks like the luck of Viktor Bout, one of the world’s premier weapons traffickers, has finally run out. The surprise decision Friday of a Thai appellate to overturn a lower-court decision and allow Bout’s extradition to stand trial in the United States on charges of trying to sell weapons to Colombian guerrillas means he should finally get his
Unfortunately for him, the purported buyers for his surface-to-air missiles, unmanned drones, and sophisticated anti-tank systems — who he thought were from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, better known as the FARC, a designated terrorist organization — were informants of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
His arrest in Bangkok in March 2008, where he met with the informants to seal the deal, set off tremors in many high places, particularly in Russia. The immediate reaction of the Russian foreign minister and other officials, who denounced the decision and equated it with an attack on the Russian state, shows the importance they place on keeping Bout from talking in open court. Why? What are the Russians so afraid of?