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The Rise and Fall of Viktor Bout


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Viktor Bout, who has been dubbed the “lord of war” and the “merchant of death,” has had his fingers in many bloody conflicts over the years. The Russian arms dealer, who has been in a Thai prison since 2008, is now likely to be extradited to the United States. Will he reveal the names of his backers?

Bout allegedly made hundreds of millions of dollars in the illegal international arms trade. If the allegations are true, his network of companies has provided weapons shipments to virtually every armed conflict of the last few decades. Some Western experts are convinced that Bout has spread more terror and is responsible for more deaths than Osama bin Laden.

The “Lord of War” has been in a Bangkok prison since 2008. After a prolonged legal tug-of-war, it now seems likely that Thailand will imminently extradite him to the United States. His trial promises to offer an unprecedented glimpse into the shadowy world of the arms dealer, a prospect that undoubtedly has politicians and generals in Africa, Asia and Latin America deeply concerned.

But they are not the only ones. Bout’s secretive connections reach all the way up to senior levels of government in Moscow and Washington. If he talks, the revelations could cause a serious rift between the two countries — what Time calls a “new ice age.”

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,721532,00.html


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