Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Viktor But Extradited to face Charges in US

The United States have succeeded in getting 'Russian'-born arms trader Viktor But on US soil to face trial for international arms dealing against US interests. In the 1990s he ran a series of air cargo companies accused of being implicated in facilitating the violation of UN arms embargoes in Angola, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo. US Executive Order 13348 of July 2004 describes him as a "businessman, dealer and transporter of weapons and minerals". He has been suspected of having connections with Russian intelligence if not being an agent himself, so getting him in US hands could make him a valuable resource for US intelligence. He now faces charges of conspiracy to provide material support or resources to a (US-)designated foreign terrorist organization, conspiring to kill Americans, conspiring to kill US officers or employees and conspiring to acquire and use an anti-aircraft missile, illegal purchase of aircraft, wire fraud and money laundering. All of these alleged offences took place outside the US. Mr But does not seem to have been involved in smuggling antiquities into the US, which is probably why the Americans went after him with such alacrity.

Vignette: US World police (thecolor.com).

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