Alleged Bout co-conspirator lashes out at Obama, US authorities
MOSCOW, December 18 (RAPSI, Alexander Karpov) – Richard Chichakli, an alleged associate of convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, sentenced to five years in US prison claims that his rights granted under the US Constitution were violated blaming Barack Obama and two other senior officials, according to court records obtained by RAPSI on Thursday.
In a lawsuit filed in October, Chichakli, who has dual citizenship of US and Syria, named Obama, Secretary of US Treasury Jacob Lew and Head of Office of Foreign Assets Control Adam Szubin as defendants.
Chichakli alleges thas his rights were violated “by imposing upon him “excessive fine” and inflicting upon him “cruel and unusual” punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.” He also claims that his assets were illegally seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and restrictions were imposed on his right to free speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Chichakli then says that “the Department of Treasury overreached by penalizing him using regulation which did not exist at the time he was sanctioned.” He was punished under a “non existing law”, according to Chichakli.
In the lawsuit, Chichakli demanded a $250 million compensation from the defendants. This claim includes funds confiscated from Chichakli, market value of seized physical assets,and interest and loss of profit since the sanctions' implementation.
US District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the suit on November 25, and Chichakli is now seeking to appeal.
He was convicted in December of one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), one count of conspiracy to launder money, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and six counts of wire fraud.
Chichakli complained of a flawed trial and moved for a new trial, “in the interests of justice.” His motion was dismissed, and he was sentenced by a New York court to five years in December.
Bout is serving a 25 year sentence in Illinois. He was convicted in November 2011 of conspiracy to murder US nationals, including military officers and employees, and of selling millions of dollars’ worth of weapons, including hundreds of portable surface-to-air missiles and over 20,000 AK-47s, to the Colombian rebel group FARC. Chichakli further moved for a new trial, “in the interests of justice.”
Bout has consistently denied the charges against him. Russia attempted to have him extradited from the United States under the 1983 Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, but without success.