THAILAND: Thailand extradites ‘Merchant of Death’to US

Viktor Bout, the former Soviet military officer and air cargo executive nicknamed the Merchant of Death by critics, has finally been extradited to the US following a diplomatic tug-of-war between the US and Russia. Bout has been accused of supplying weapons that fuelled civil wars in South America, the Middle East and Africa, with clients […]


Viktor Bout, the former Soviet military officer and air cargo executive nicknamed the Merchant of Death by critics, has finally been extradited to the US following a diplomatic tug-of-war between the US and Russia. Bout has been accused of supplying weapons that fuelled civil wars in South America, the Middle East and Africa, with clients ranging from Liberia’s Charles Taylor and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to the Taliban government that once ran Afghanistan. Thailand’s government ordered Bout placed in American custody this week, some 20 months after his March 2008 arrest in a sting operation led by US narcotics agents posing as officials of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, also known as the FARC. Since then, the wealthy businessman, estimated by the US to be worth US$6 billion, has been in a Thai jail.