Who is Victor Bet? Portrait after prisoner exchange with Griner



Brittney Griner is free. And Viktor Butas is also free. Rus was released to his homeland in a prisoner exchange. He was once the most wanted man in the world.

Anyone who has seen the Hollywood movie Lord of War already knows something about Victor Booth. Perhaps not knowing that the satirical drama is inspired by the life story of a Russian. The full title is Warlord – Merchant of Death. That’s why Bet later got the nickname “Dealer of Death”. The film was released in 2005. It was directed by Andrew Niccol. Then the real “Dealer of Death” was still at large. in 2008 But was arrested for a spectacular act. Now he was free. Swapping prisoners with the US. Equivalent: American professional basketball player Brittney Griner. Who is the man whose freedom was exchanged for the freedom of an athlete?

Portrait of Viktor But: from KGB major to transporter?

Let’s start from the beginning. Viktor Butas was born in 1967. January 13 in the family of Russian parents in Dushanbe. At the time, it was a city in the Tajikistan Soviet Socialist Republic. Near the border too Afghanistan. Today, Dushanbe is the capital of Tajikistan with a population of almost 900,000. A lot of talent for foreign languages ​​at an early age. He entered the Military Institute of Foreign Languages ​​of the Soviet Union, and later the Soviet Military Academy. Today he speaks six languages.

Its activities until the end of the Cold War are largely obscure. He is said to have been a KGB major. However, he himself claims that he has no connection with the Soviet secret service. One thing is clear: after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, he founded a transport company in Moscow. He quickly expanded his business to the United Arab Emirates. He later moved the company’s headquarters to the emirate of Sharjah. in 1996 his airline was the largest in the emirate, with 60 of its own aircraft and around 1,000 employees.

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Video: dpa

Who is Victor Bet? Arms dealers to warlords and governments

The exact time when Bout expanded his transport business into arms trading is not known. The only thing that is clear is that he took advantage of the chaotic conditions in the armies of the Warsaw Pact countries. He established good relations with the military and bought weapons of war. Among others from Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan and Slovakia.

During this time, Bout acquired another alias, along with the “Merchant of Death.” He was nicknamed the “sanctions buster”. He earned this nickname for his ability to circumvent the arms embargo. However, he got rich by illegally transporting weapons from Eastern Europe to African and Asian countries. His loyal customers were despots and warlords. Among others, Libyan head of state Muammar al-Gaddafi and warlord Charles Taylor of Liberia. He is also said to have procured weapons for the Taliban. His knowledge of Arabic, Persian, Portuguese, English and French helped him.

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Bout’s rise to become the world’s most wanted man

By the turn of the millennium, Bout had become the most wanted man in the world. The CIA succeeded him and he was placed on the international wanted list in Brussels. For money laundering and diamond smuggling. In 2022, British minister Peter Hain first mentioned three words that haunt him to this day: “Merchant of Death.” But at that time he was 33 years old.

The Russian was not only good for crooked deals and arms deliveries. He also managed to hide for years while continuing his business. However, in 2008 The apartment was trapped by US agents. You bluffed as Colombia’s representative….

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