November 24, 2006 |
A sporting goods store in a small northern Pennsylvania town is the unlikely focus of a federal investigation into the suspected reemergence of the global arms transport network controlled by Russian businessman Victor Bout. Federal officials said this week that a recent search of the store near Wilkes-Barre, Pa., sought to learn whether a Bulgarian firm in Bout's business empire was being used to purchase restricted paramilitary items for a company tied to Russia's intelligence agency.
April 27, 2005 |
The Treasury Department imposed broad financial sanctions Tuesday against the international arms network of Russian air transporter Victor Bout, freezing the assets of 30 companies and four individuals, including an American named as Bout's chief financial officer. The move is aimed at crippling a global air empire accused of violating weapons embargoes in African civil wars for more than a decade. In addition, U.S.
December 18, 2004 |
The State Department circulated a list of nine air companies linked to reputed arms trafficker Victor Bout in June, warning diplomatic posts against hiring the firms. But the Defense Department, which oversees most of the massive military contracts in Iraq, made no similar effort to warn its agencies, officials said Friday. Planes flown by four firms suspected of ties to the Russian businessman's aviation network landed in Baghdad at least 195 times over the last year, government documents show.
July 23, 2002 |
Most Americans would be shocked to learn that one of the Taliban's favorite arms smugglers is now living freely and openly in a country that is supposed to be an ally in the U.S. war against terrorism--and that the Bush administration has done nothing about it. Another story of double-dealing by Saudi Arabia or divided loyalties in Pakistan? No, this problem is in Russia.
May 19, 2002 |
Victor Bout is fluent in five languages and is described by intimates as a tough but charming man and a hard bargainer. Bout's business dealings have enabled him to buy expensive cars and residences in Moscow, on the Belgian coast and in South Africa and the emirate of Sharjah. He has left several countries one step ahead of official inquiries into his businesses and has been accused by United Nations and U.S. officials of supplying weapons to regimes around the world.
May 19, 2002 |
The files on Victor Bout in government agencies around the world brim with accounts of how he hunted game with rebel leaders, threw beer parties on jungle landing strips and consorted with dictators to build his business empire. For a decade, his armada of aircraft has hauled almost anything for a price: fish, coffee, relief supplies, flowers, and heads of state and their wives. International authorities say the 35-year-old Russian also operates the world's largest private weapons transport network, carrying military goods as small as Kalashnikov assault rifle rounds and as large as helicopter gunships.