MOSCOW, October 17 - RAPSI. Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko sentenced in the United States to 20 years in prison for attempted drugs smuggling said that his case is directly related to the prosecution against another Russian, Viktor Bout, Izvestia daily reports.

"They regularly tried to make me testify against him in exchange for freedom and residential permit for my entire family," the pilot said in the newspaper interview.

The United States have charged Bout, who was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and taken to the United States in 2010, with conspiring to kill Americans, illegal surface-to-air missile trafficking and supporting terrorism through cooperation with Colombian terrorist organization FARC. Bout has pleaded not guilty to all charges. The trial over Bout's case began on Tuesday in New York.

Prosecutors maintain that Yaroshenko accepted U.S. agents' proposal to carry four tonnes of cocaine from South America to Africa and on to the United States.

Yaroshenko pleaded not guilty. However, the jury found him guilty in April. The court sentenced him to 20 years in prison in September.