MOSCOW, October 23 - RAPSI. Viktor Bout's defense has requested financial aid from the Russian authorities, Kommersant daily reports. The money will be used for preparing an appeal and holding a large-scale investigation in Thailand and the United States.
Bout was arrested in Thailand in March 2008 during 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 a Thai prison.
The Federal District Court of New York found him guilty of conspiring to kill U.S. officials and citizens, acquiring and intending to sell Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles, and providing support to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which is considered a terrorist group by the United States. Bout was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Bout's defense is determined to prove that the U.S. authorities used bribes and direct pressure to seek the businessman's extradition. Viktor Bout's wife Alla plans collect money to support him by setting up a charitable fund and selling his personal belongings at an auction.
Albert Dayan, Bout's attorney in the United States, has tried again to involve the Russian authorities in Bout's case. In his letter to Sergei Kislyak, Russian ambassador in Washington, he wrote that he has irrefutable proof that Bout was illegally arrested in Thailand and that the U.S. authorities violated the law and obstructed justice when seeking the businessman's extradition.
Moreover, the Thai government does not consider FARC a terrorist organization and the initial charge accusing Bout of aiding terrorists was withdrawn after several days. Nevertheless, the Bangkok authorities kept Bout in custody and took swift steps to initiate hearings on his extradition to the United States.
Dayan is sure that Viktor Bout's arrest was a result of bribery and services rendered to the management of a special police unit by U.S. government's members in Thailand.