Saturday, September 4, 2010

Viktor Bout Extradition to US Delayed

Via (AP) -

A suspected Russian arms dealer's extradition to the United States will be delayed at least until Oct. 4 to allow a Thai court to review new charges filed as a precaution by Washington, a judge said Friday.

The announcement by the Bangkok Criminal Court is the latest blow to Washington, which had expected Viktor Bout's rapid extradition after a Thai appeals court gave its approval on Aug. 20.

Bout, 43, is reputed to be one of the world's most prolific arms dealers.

His high-profile arrest in a 2008 U.S.-led sting operation in Bangkok ended a decade-long chase for the Russian, who has never been prosecuted despite being the subject of U.N. sanctions, a Belgian money-laundering indictment and a travel ban.

After last month's ruling, the U.S. quickly flew a plane to Bangkok to pick up Bout. The move was publicized in Thailand as the latest evidence of heavy U.S. pressure in a case that has turned into a diplomatic tug-of-war between Washington and Moscow.

Experts say Bout, a former Soviet air force officer, has knowledge of Russia's military and intelligence operations and Moscow does not want him to go on trial in the United States.

Bout has been indicted in the U.S. on four terrorism-related charges and faces possible life in prison. The U.S. indictment alleges Bout agreed to sell weapons to U.S. agents posing as arms buyers for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which Washington classifies as a terrorist organization. Bout denies the accusations.

1 comment:

  1. I think you'r earlier idea of a prisoner exchange is still the most likely outcome.

    Bout's operation has still continued to operate while he has been in Thailand.

    The real question is whether he has gone back to being a soviet patriot or an Entrepreneur.

    Shimron Issachar