Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian weapons trader, was released on December 8, 2022, as part of a prisoner exchange for Brittney Griner, a US basketball star. Viktor Anatolyevich Bout, often known as Viktor Bout, is a Russian armaments trader. He is also an entrepreneur and former Soviet military translator who smuggled weapons via his firms. For almost two decades, Viktor grew to popularity as the world’s most notorious arms broker, selling weaponry to rogue states, rebel armies, and cruel dictators in Africa, Asia, and South America. His fame was such that it inspired a Hollywood film, Lord of War, starring Nicolas Cage. Bout was imprisoned in the Marion United States Penitentiary prior to his release.
Viktor Bout’s Arrest and Charge: What Did He Do?
On March 6, 2008, the Royal Thai Police detained Viktor Bout, commonly known as “the merchant of death,” in Thailand on terrorist accusations. The US Ambassador to Thailand, Eric G. John, sought the weapons dealer’s extradition under Thailand’s Extradition Act. In August 2010, the Thai High Court ordered his surrender. Viktor Bout was accused of attempting to sell weapons to a DEA agent masquerading as a member of Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Soldiers (FARC) in order for them to be used against American soldiers in Colombia. Nonetheless, he refuted the allegations and said that he expected to be released.
In 2012, a U.S. court sentenced him to 25 years in prison for multiple counts related to his history of trading in firearms. His case has been seen as an obvious injustice, and his native nation has continuously maintained his innocence and tried to secure his release.
Who Is Viktor Bout?
Viktor Bout was born in Dushanbe, Soviet Tajikistan, on January 13, 1967. He speaks numerous languages. He is also a father to two children. Alla Bout is said to be Viktor Bout’s wife. Elizaveta Viktorovna Bout, the couple’s only child, was born. He received his diploma from the Military Institute of Foreign Languages. Furthermore, the weapons trader worked as a translator in the Soviet Armed Forces, rising to the rank of lieutenant in Angola.
Viktor’s company ultimately became centered on Angola. Bout’s major accomplishment occurred in the days after the demise of the Communist bloc in 1989-1991. He used a surprising abundance of abandoned Soviet-era weaponry at the time to launch a series of fratricide civil wars in Asia, Africa, and other locations. In the United Arab Emirates, the merchant of death acquired a squadron of around 60 obsolete Soviet military aircraft. As the Soviet Union’s massive air fleet started to crumble, he spread his goods abroad. Viktor Bout wrote a book (biography) titled “Merchant of Death: Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible” in 2007.
Brittney Griner and Viktor Bout Prison Swap
As previously stated, the Russian weapons dealer was released in exchange for the athlete Brittney Griner. The Russian citizen was imprisoned for 14 years. Griner, a basketball star, was detained at a Moscow airport in February 2022 for carrying hashish oil. According to Reuters, US President Joe Biden said on Thursday that Brittney Griner had been released as part of what Russia claimed was a deal for Viktor Bout. The president of the United States tweeted that Griner was safe and on her way home. Viktor seems to have returned to his own nation as well.