Second suspect in "Bout case" testifies before jury
NEW YORK, October 26 - RAPSI. Andrew Smulian, 70, a UK citizen involved in the "Bout case", appeared before the jury in a New York court as a witness for the prosecution, RIA Novosti reported from the courtroom.
The United States have charged Bout with conspiring to kill Americans and US officials, illegal surface-to-air missile trafficking, and supporting terrorism through cooperation with the Colombian guerilla organization FARC. Bout has pleaded not guilty to all charges. The case hearings started in October.
Unlike Bout Smulian has pleaded guilty on all four counts and began to cooperate with the investigation by testifying against the Russian.
Mikhail Belozersky, the third person involved in the case, who participated in the talks at Sofitel Hotel in Bangkok, was also detained but soon released and deported to Russia.
Smulian's first interrogation started at 16:00 and lasted for less than an hour. He related to the court how he met Bout in the Republic of South Africa in 1997 where both were engaged in air carriage and then had a meeting at Dubai military hardware exhibition at Bout's invitation.
Smulian admits that he decided to cooperate hoping that under a US procedure he will be given a shorter than minimum sentence at the prosecutor's office request. Like Bout he is facing from 25-year to life imprisonment.
Smulian is considered to be a key witness for the prosecution.