Arctic Sea: AA missile merchant to be tried in USA

Igor Sechin

"The delivery of 100 Russian anti-aircraft missiles appears to be a government-sponsored program ... it is frightening to consider what Bout could tell US authorities about who promised to provide him with [those] 100 Russian anti-aircraft weapons." One plausible answer was ventured in another recent Moscow Times opinion piece by Yulia Latynina, host of a political talk show on Russia's Ekho Moskvy radio station. She pointed out that Bout served in Mozambique in the 1980s, along with a man named Igor Sechin, who today serves as Russia's deputy prime minister and who is widely considered the second-most-important person in that country after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Viktor Bout,is now finally set to stand trial in the US after he was flown out of Bangkok on Tuesday, November 16, on a US government jet shortly after the Thai cabinet approved his extradition. His wife did not have a chance to say goodbye. Born in Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe in 1967 when it was still under Soviet rule, Bout studied languages - including English, French and Portuguese - at Moscow's military institute for foreign languages before joining the air force.

He has repeatedly denied suggestions that he was a former KGB agent and that he bought weaponry, aircraft and helicopters at throwaway rates at the fall of the Soviet Union to supply to conflict zones. Bout has maintained his innocence from the day he was picked up in the Thai capital after allegedly agreeing to supply surface-to-air missiles in a series of covert meetings that also took him to Denmark and Romania.

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