Who is Viktor Bout, known as the ‘Merchant of Death’, Released in Exchange for Brittney Griner

Russian news agencies reported that notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout arrived in Russia on Thursday. he was part of Prisoner swap deal in which Russia frees American basketball player Brittany Griner,

On reaching Russia, he embraced his mother. After arriving in Moscow from Abu Dhabi, Bout reportedly said, “Don’t worry, everything is fine, I love you very much.” AFP,

arrest from bangkok

Bout was arrested in Bangkok in March 2008 in a sting operation organized by the Drug Enforcement Agency after he posed as potential buyers from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC. The US then extradited him in 2010 and sentenced him to 25 years in prison after his conviction in 2011. He served 10 years in prison from 2012 to 2022 before his release.

The bout has been dubbed as the ‘Merchant of Death’ and there is a book and film based on his life of the same name.

British Foreign Office Minister Peter Hahn nicknamed him the ‘Merchant of Death’ for supplying arms to warring parties in Eastern Europe, Angola, Afghanistan, West Asia, the Central African Republic and Sierra Leone.

“Bout is a major trader of death who is a major carrier for aircraft and supply routes to Eastern Europe, mainly Bulgaria, Moldova and other countries carrying weapons. ukraine to Liberia and Angola,” Hahn said BBC,

merchant of death who perpetuates wars

Hahn further stated that the UN exposed the bout as ‘the center of a spider web of shady arms dealers, diamond brokers and other operatives’ who profited from the constant wars.

Bout claims that despite supplying arms, he helped the French government with relief measures during the Rwandan genocide and also helped UN peacekeepers on several occasions.

But Bout is accused of using abandoned Soviet-made Antonovs and Ilyushins to transport weapons to disputed areas.

After the collapse of the USSR in the 90s he made his fortune by collecting Soviet-made aircraft scattered at several airports. He was born in Tajikistan but is a Russian citizen.

Observers have also accused him of arming terrorists in the Middle East. Bout claims that he armed commanders who were fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, although there are claims that he armed al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

Bout is also accused of helping former Sierra Leone President Charles Taylor, who allegedly incited war crimes with weapons during the Sierra Leone Civil War.

He was also accused of supplying arms to both sides during periods of unrest in Liberia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A Manhattan court convicted him in 2011 of conspiring to kill Americans and US officials, providing anti-aircraft missiles and aiding a terrorist organization.

Bout’s wife said his return was a true ‘New Year’s gift’ and his mother thanked Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for making sure her son was back home.

Bout plans to open an exhibition of his paintings in Russia’s second city, St. Petersburg, in April, the news agency reported. AFP reported citing his wife Alla.

read all breaking news Here