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New York prosecutors bring new charges against Russian 'Merchant of Death'

RIA Novosti


NEW YORK, February 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russian businessman and alleged arms dealer Viktor Bout, dubbed the "Merchant of Death," is facing new charges in New York for concealment of illegal income.

The United States earlier accused Bout of conspiring with others to sell millions of dollars' worth of weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), among other illegal arms deals, and "threatening lives of U.S. citizens."

The Southern District of the New York Court found Bout and his alleged associate Richard Chichakli guilty on Wednesday of violating the 1995 International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) for concealing millions in arms sales profits.

The new indictment charges Bout with supplying two Boeing planes to Liberia's former president Charles Taylor in 2004, bypassing UN sanctions and IEEPA. As much as $1.7 million had been transferred for the delivery finally blocked by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Taylor is currently on trial for his alleged role in a bloody insurgency in Sierra Leone.

Bout and Chichakli are also accused of conspiracy, money laundering and wire fraud.

Former Russian army officer Bout, 42, remains in custody in a Thai jail after the Bangkok Criminal Court refused in August to extradite him to the United States, where he is facing four terrorism-related charges and a possible life sentence. He has repeatedly denied the accusations.

U.S. prosecutors said they would now seek Bout's extradition again in light of the new charges.

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