Bout Defense Prepares Extradition Request and Appeals

May 24, 2012

RIA Novosti on May 24, 2012 released the following:

“The defense team for imprisoned Russian businessman, Viktor Bout, has started work on an appeal to Russian Ministry of Justice requesting his extradition from the U.S. as well as appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court and the International Court of Justice in the Hague, Bout’s lawyer Albert Dayan said.

Under a convention between Russia and the U.S. dating from the 1980’s the Russian Ministry of Justice may request the handing over of Russians sentenced in the U.S. Eric Holder, the current U.S. Attorney General, has said that the U.S. may consider an application for Bout, who has been sentenced to 25 years in jail, to serve his prison term in Russia if they receive the request.

“The appeal to the Justice Ministry is already at work, it will take months to prepare the necessary documents. We simultaneously work on three lengthy legal documents; on the appeal and the claim to International Court of Justice in the Hague,” Dayan said.

Dayan added that the defense team had been extended to manage the volume of work required.

“Victor Bout’s appeal is not a personal letter from a Russian, not just a private request. We are working on a document that will prepare a legal base for the governments of Russia and the United States on his extradition. We are studying precedents, materials, bilateral and international agreements, and conventions. We are preparing arguments for the negotiations between Russia and the United States,” Dayan said.

Dayan also noted that Bout is keeping his spirits up and believes he will return to Russia.

“Viktor Bout continues to believe that the country would stand for him. He works hard and hopes to return home”, the lawyer said.

Bout, a former Soviet Air Force officer who was dubbed the “Merchant of Death” in the United States, has been sentenced to 25 years in a U.S. jail for conspiring to kill U.S. citizens and sell arms to Colombian militants. He maintains his innocence.

On May 11, the U.S. penitentiary authority said Bout would be sent from his Brooklyn jail to a super maximum security prison in Colorado, where convicted terrorists and other dangerous criminals are serving their sentences, often in solitary confinement.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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There is nobody to represent Viktor Bout in Thailand

March 30, 2012

RAPSI on March 26, 2012 released the following:

“BANGKOK, March 26 – RAPSI. The Thai court that convened on Monday to reconsider alleged arms trafficker Viktor Bout’s case has suspended the hearing for 60 days to allow the defense time to find a new attorney after lawyer Lak Nitivat Vichan died in January.

The court was expected to hear the witnesses for the defense on Monday in regards to Bout’s extradition from Thailand to the United States in November 2010. However, the hearing was postponed due to Vichan’s death as neither Bout nor his defense attorneys were able to attend.

Vichan, who was involved in Bout’s case since he was arrested in March 2008 and led the defense team for most of the last four years, died at the age of 73 on January 8. Vichan contributed to the Thai Appeals Court’s decision in 2011 to reconsider Bout’s extradition case. The same court held for Bout’s extradition after lower courts twice declined U.S. requests.

The court decided to review the case on the grounds that, first, new facts have been uncovered, according to the defense, and, second, Bout’s extradition was illegal as he was still under the Thai court’s jurisdiction. Under Thai law, the extradition order was not sufficient to extradite Bout as the court also needed to issue a permit for Bout’s transfer from prison.

The 45-year-old former Russian military officer, known as the “Merchant of Death,” was arrested in Thailand in March 2008 in a sting operation led by U.S. agents and extradited to the United States in November 2010 after spending more than two and a half years in Thai prisons.

On November 2, the jury of the Federal District Court of New York unanimously found Bout guilty of conspiring to kill U.S. officials and citizens, acquiring and intending to use anti-aircraft missiles and providing support to terrorists.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Thailand here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Viktor Bout Trial Commences in US

October 11, 2011

The trial of Viktor Bout — a Russian ex-army officer accused of overseeing the world’s biggest private arms trafficker — has got under way in New York.

Prosecution and defense attorneys began the process of seating a jury panel from among 80 prospective jurors — a crush of candidates so large that reporters were not allowed in to cover the process because of space restrictions, court officials said.

Bout’s wife and daughter were among those in the courtroom as the vetting of jurors by Judge Shira Scheindlin and lawyers from both sides began, amid concerns that Bout’s notoriety could make it difficult for him to get a fair trial.

In a highly unusual move, Scheindlin said she will make the 12 jurors and alternates sign a statement swearing they will abstain from attempting to read about the defendant on the Internet or anywhere else.

Security will be tight for the trial, which could last up to three weeks.

Dubbed by US officials “the merchant of death,” Bout is accused of attempting to sell undercover US agents surface-to-air missiles and other weapons for use by Colombia’s FARC rebels against US anti-narcotics personnel. He has pleaded not guilty.

Bout was brought to the United States in 2010 from Thailand in the wake of a daring sting operation by US agents in a Thai hotel in 2008, followed by a bitter extradition battle that raised US-Russian tensions.

Bout’s New York legal team concedes that he did run a fleet of cargo planes acquired after the Soviet break-up, but insists he never sold or brokered weapons. He faces up to life in prison if found guilty.

The US government said Bout told the US agents he mistakenly believed to be FARC representatives that he could deliver 700 missiles, 5,000 assault rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition, in addition to land mines and explosives.

Bout’s extended resume — which is not directly at issue in the trial — allegedly includes pouring weapons into wars in Afghanistan, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Sudan.

This article was published by AFP on October 11, 2011.

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Did the U.S. Offer a Plea Deal to Viktor Bout?

January 3, 2011

Viktor Bout, the suspected Russian arms merchant, is being quoted as saying U.S. authorities promised him a lighter sentence in exchange for information about his contacts.

Bout, known as the “Merchant of Death,” said the plea bargain offer was extended by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents who transported him from Thailand in November.

Bout was arrested in Thailand in 2008 in a U.S. sting on charges of conspiring to sell weapons to a terrorist group. He fought extradition, but was sent in November to New York, where he is in federal detention awaiting trial.

Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported Sunday that Bout said he was offered “a lighter sentence…and the possibility of bringing my family to the U.S.A., if I told all I know about my contacts in Russia and other countries. But I responded that I have nothing to say.” See the entire news article and interview here.

If the U.S. government did offer Bout a plea deal in exchange for information and he rejected it, Bout is most likely headed for trial in the U.S. at this point.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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WikiLeaks: Cables Reveal Details Behind Bout’s Extradition

December 6, 2010

Not everything coming out of Cablegate is unflattering. Documents released by WikiLeaks this week have pulled back the curtain on the high-level coordination between the State Department, Department of Justice and the White House to bring alleged arms dealer Victor Bout — the so-called global “merchant of death” — to trial in the United States, including the existence of a dedicated “Bout team” within the U.S. embassy in Bangkok.

Thai authorities had arrested Bout in Bangkok in March of 2008 while he met with informants working for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Yet Bout’s extradition proceedings dragged out for more than a year before he was brought to New York to face trial in federal court in Manhattan, where he was charged with four terrorism conspiracy counts related to a DEA sting in Thailand.

After a Thai judge ruled against Bout’s extradition in August of 2009, the U.S. ambassador to Thailand warned the newly endorsed Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of a potentially “major setback” in U.S. relations if “corruption and undue influence” had an impact on the case. Faced with the prospect that Bout could be released and allowed to return to Russia, Ambassador Eric. G. John recommended that both the State Department and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder call in the Thai ambassador to Washington to push for Bout’s extradition. The ambassador also recommended that the governments of Colombia, Sierra Leone and Liberia weigh in on Bout’s case to the Thai government.

Bout had long been in the crosshairs of the U.S. government. Over the course of the 1990s and early 2000s, U.N. investigators linked Bout’s fleet of aircraft to arms shipments in Liberia and Sierra Leone. In 2004, President Bush signed an executive order placing sanctions on Bout and his business associates with ties to the United States. Shortly thereafter, Treasury Department officials froze any assets and financial transactions within U.S. jurisdiction through the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). However, Bout eluded arrest despite being the subject of a sealed indictment in federal court in New York for violating those U.S. sanctions.

In my opinion, the U.S. government did everything they could possibly do to try to affect the outcome of the extradition process. However, I disapprove of Washington’s strong-arm methods, and needless to say, the cables have been both enlightening and disappointing. It is certainly worrisome to know the extents that the U.S. government went to in order to impact the decision-making process of judicial authorities in another country.

To read the full Time article, please click here.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Thai Court Rules on Bout; DELAYS U.S. Extradition

October 4, 2010

A Thai court rejected a prosecutor’s request to drop fresh charges against accused Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, potentially complicating U.S. efforts to have him extradited to face terrorism charges.

By law, prosecutors can’t drop the charges because Bout objected to their withdrawal, the Criminal Court said in a statement today. Prosecutors sought Bout’s extradition on six new charges prior to an August 20 ruling by an appeals court that he could be sent back to the U.S., where a grand jury indicted him on four charges that he plotted to kill Americans.

The court plans to rule tomorrow at 2 p.m. on whether Bout can be extradited to the U.S. on the new charges, according to a statement. Bout plans to file more cases to the Criminal Court to further stall his extradition, lawyer Lak Nittiwattanawichan told reporters.

The strategy of filing more cases, and in effect, bringing further charges against himself, is a legal tactic by Bout to delay extradition to the U.S., and at the same time, figure out a way to be freed.

Bout’s case has fueled a diplomatic dispute between the U.S. and Russia, with each country pressuring Thailand to follow its version of events. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the August 20 ruling to extradite Bout “political” and summoned Thailand’s ambassador.

The U.S. says the ex-Soviet air force officer ran an air cargo network that shipped weapons to conflict zones from Afghanistan to Rwanda. Bout has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, saying he was framed by U.S. undercover agents who posed as Colombian rebels during his arrest in Bangkok two years ago.

Bout’s extradition is ultimately going to come down to Thailand’s political decision to acquiesce to U.S. or Russian authorities.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Bout Appeals to Russian Leaders for Help

September 24, 2010

Viktor Bout, coined the “Merchant of Death” by the media, has appealed to Russian leaders to prevent his extradition from Thailand to the United States.

On Thursday, Bout’s mother read out his letter to President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at a press conference in Moscow.

Bout swears that his business was absolutely legal and solicits help in promoting his return to Russia.

In a separate address to President Medvedev, Bout’s wife, Alla Bout, also appealed to Russian officials. Undoubtedly, she is worried about the life sentence Bout is facing if convicted in the U.S.

Bout was arrested in Thailand in March 2008 at the request of the United States. U.S. officials blame Bout for allegedly collaborating with Colombia’s FARC rebels. Bout’s extradition to the United States was ordered by the Thai appeals court on August 20 in what the Russian Foreign Ministry said was a politically motivated move initiated by Washington. On February 17, the United States brought new charges against Bout, accusing him of ostensibly violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

The charges were passed over to the Thai criminal court two hours before the appeals court reached its verdict on the 2008 accusations. In accordance with Thai law, Bout cannot be extradited to the United States until the second charges are brought to court.

Bout will most likely use this time to appeal to Russian officials and the media for help in the proceedings. The tensions between Russia and the U.S. over this matter will most likely increase if Russian officials take action against the U.S. government. Thailand, unfortunately, is in the awkward position of balancing the political powers of these two countries when it eventually has to make a decision on whether to extradite Bout to the U.S.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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