Possible Prisoner Swap: Who Is Viktor But?



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Status: 2022-08-01 19:08

Viktor Bout may become part of a US-Russian prisoner swap. He is serving a long prison sentence in the United States and had a military reputation around the world before his conviction.

Annette Kammerer, ARD Studio Moscow, currently Berlin

So now he’s back in the news all over the world: Viktor Anatolyevich Buta, a man nicknamed “The Merchant of Death.” A windy businessman whose story provided material for a Hollywood movie. An arms dealer who spent at least 25 years in a US prison.

The US is said to have offered the 55-year-old Russian in exchange for two US citizens currently detained in Russia: US basketball player Brittney Griner, who is currently on trial in a Russian court for suspected drug possession. And Paul Whelan, convicted of spying in Russia three years ago.

However, on the other hand, he was arrested in Thailand in 2008. and convicted in the US after extradition in 2012. Is he still interested in Russia?

Large-scale arms shipments

But the trained military translator became a successful businessman after military service in Angola and Mozambique in the 1990s. Meanwhile, his company owned about 50 planes. Officially, these planes carried flowers and household goods around the world. Unofficially, there were also weapons in the hold.

The Russian businessman is said to have transported them to Afghanistan, Liberia or Togo. No client seemed too difficult: but it is said to have also delivered to organizations officially designated as terrorist by the European Union and the United States, such as Al Qaeda, the Taliban or Colombia’s FARC.

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Never quite disappeared from the headlines

However, although Buto’s case is old, his name is still heard in the Russian media. Last year, an exhibition of his paintings was shown in Moscow. Painting is almost the only thing her husband is allowed to do in prison, Alla But said at the beginning of the exhibition.

Most of But’s 24 paintings were evocative allusions to…

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