MOSCOW, April 12 - RAPSI. Russian businessman and alleged arms dealer Viktor Bout has said that he will not enter into a plea bargain with a U.S. court because he is innocent.
Bout was earlier sentenced to 25 years in prison in the United States.
"What do I have to confess to? I did nothing wrong. This is the principle issue. I will not enter into a plea bargain or make a confession," he said during the Moscow-New York video conference when asked if he would admit his guilt to be extradited more quickly to Russia.
Bout was arrested in the Thai capital of Bangkok in March 2008 during a sting operation led by U.S. agents. The United States requested his extradition as the worlds alleged number-one gunrunner.
A Thai court dismissed the request in 2009 as Bout is a Russian citizen, and claimed the demand was equivalent to political prosecution. However, an appeals court satisfied the U.S. appeal against the lower-court decision in 2010 and agreed to extradite Bout.
The New York Federal Court sentenced Bout to 25 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of planning to sell arms to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia.
The 45-year-old former military officer has denied the charges against him. The Russian Foreign Ministry believes the U.S. authorities did not provide sufficient evidence of Bout's intent.