Viktor Bout's former business partner under arrest
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NEW YORK, January 11 - RAPSI, Larisa Sayenko. U.S. and Syrian citizen Richard Chichakli, former business partner of Russian entrepreneur Viktor Bout, has been arrested in Australia at the United States' request, reads the statement issued by Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Bout and Chichakli have been charged with fraud and money laundering, based on the belief that the CIS company which tried to purchase two Boeing jets in the United States belongs to them. The company attempted to supply the jets to then Liberian President Charles Taylor in violation of the UNSC's sanctions and the United States' International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) of 1995.
In 2010, Chichakli told RIA Novosti that he denied his involvement in the sale of the jets. He said that he had evidence which proved this.
A former Soviet military officer, Viktor Bout was convicted in November 2011 of conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals, including military officers and employees, conspiring to supply man-portable anti-aircraft missiles, and selling millions of dollars worth of weapons to the Colombian rebel group FARC.
Bout, who has consistently denied the charges against him, was sentenced to 25 years in April 2012. He is serving his prison term in the United States Penitentiary, Marion (USP Marion) in Illinois. Russia attempted to have Bout transferred from the United States in line with the 1983 Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, but without success.