Viktor Bout's accomplice consents to being extradited to United States
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MOSCOW, April 4 - RAPSI. Arms dealer Viktor Bout's former business partner, the Syrian-born U.S. citizen Richard Chichakli, has given his consent to be extradited to the United States from Australia where he was arrested last January upon the request of U.S. investigators, The Australian reports online.
Earlier, Bout and Chichakli were charged with attempting to supply aircraft to Liberian dictator Charles Taylor in violation of the UN Security Council's sanctions and the 1995 International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
The charges are based on the accusations that Chichakli and Bout own a company in the CIS that attempted to purchase two Boeing civil airplanes in the United States. Australian officials arrested Chichakli as he was applying for a job in law enforcement using a false identity.
"Im asking the court to kindly send me home to the United States. I would like to thank Australia for its hospitality," he said, adding that he denies the charges, but "that is for the United States court to try." Nine charges have been brought against Chichakli, including organizing money laundering and fraud operations, which are punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Bout was convicted in the United States for plotting to supply weapons to Columbian militants. He is serving a 25-year term in Marion prison in Illinois. He has pleaded innocent.