25 years jail for 'Merchant of Death' arms dealer

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25 years jail for 'Merchant of Death' arms dealer

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The Russian arms dealer known as the ‘Merchant of Death’ was sentenced on Thursday to 25 years in a US prison for attempting to sell arms to a Colombian rebel group.

Viktor Bout was caught in an elaborate undercover sting by US agents posing as FARC guerillas.

Bout was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and convicted last Autumn in New York of conspiracy to kill Americans and aiding a terrorist organisation.

During a three week trial, the jury heard how Bout had set up a deal that included the sale of surface-to-air missiles.

The US fought a lengthy extradition battle with Russia over the former Soviet officer. Moscow claimed his arrest was politically motivated and wanted him return to Russia from Bangkok.

Bout is widely believed to have been the world’s biggest black market arms dealer of recent times.

Prosecutors claimed he had around 50 cargo planes at his disposal to deliver weapons to rogue states and terrorist organisations around the world.

His reputation was the inspiration for the movie “Lord of War” starring Nicolas Cage.