Russian arms merchant Viktor Anatolyevich Bout. With the help of his many enterprises, this former Soviet military translator and arms producer moved weaponry from Eastern Europe to Africa and the Middle East in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The Wealth of Viktor Bout
In 2023, Viktor Bout is predicted to have a net worth of $50 million, according to several sources. Viktor Bout’s air freight business was the original source of his regular monthly income. After he began trafficking weaponry, he saw a doubling in his earnings. Viktor Bout had been getting paid by the military up until that point. There is no public record of how much money Viktor Bout makes each year.
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In the Beginning: Viktor Bout
If you’re researching Viktor Bout’s life, you’ll discover the most relevant information about his childhood here.
The exact circumstances of Viktor Bout’s birth on January 13, 1967, are unknown. Dushanbe, Tajik SSR, Soviet Union is the location of origin for Viktor Bout.
The South African intelligence file on Viktor Bout indicates that he is Ukrainian.
The Victor Bout School of Philosophy
The specifics of Viktor Bout’s academic background, including his elementary and secondary school experiences, are unknown. With so little to go on, it’s tough to say whether or not he finished high school.
Career Viktor Bout
When discussing Viktor Bout’s professional life, we must mention his time spent in the Soviet military. We also know he completed his studies in foreign languages at the Military Institute.
According to his website, Bout founded his air freight company, Air Cess, around the time of the Soviet Union’s dissolution.
When Did He Start Being Called That?
Viktor Bout allegedly had the ability to “carry tanks, helicopters, and weaponry by the tons to nearly any point in the world” by 2005.
He was called “one of the most dangerous persons on the face of the globe” by a DEA official.
In the 1980s, Bout served as a translator in the armed forces. He utilized his connections to buy six large airlift freight planes after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. He reportedly used them to transport unwanted arms and ammunition out of Russia and to “far-flung battle zones,” as reported by Yahoo.
Merchant of Death was the name Douglas Farah and Stephen Braun gave Viktor Bout in 2007. They each wrote a book with that title.
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Lord of War, Starring Nicolas Cage, Was Inspired by Bout.
In the 2005 American film Lord Of War, Nicolas Cage portrays Yuri Orlov. It has been speculated that the protagonist was inspired by the real-life Viktor Bout and his deeds.
Amnesty International “commended the film for demonstrating the baleful repercussions of the armaments trade,” The Guardian reported in 2008.
Note that in the film, Nic Cage’s character, Yuri, seeks fame rather than wealth.
In May, Yahoo said that Russia was “seeking to exchange” WNBA star Brittney Griner for Viktor Bout. It reported using “many state-owned Russian news outlets.”
How Did the Authorities Track Down and Apprehend Viktor Bout?
It took time for him to realize that the trafficking of weapons put innocent people, including Americans, in harm’s way, but by then it was too late.
With the knowledge that Bout attempted to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to the foreign terrorist organization Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), the United States had sufficient evidence to justify his arrest.
According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Bout discussed the logistics of transporting the guns with two DEA confidential sources during a “covertly taped encounter in Thailand” in March 2008. The foreign arms dealer stated at the discussion that the United States was his “enemy” and that he had been “fighting the United States…for 10 to 15 years.”
The DOJ claims that shortly after the meeting, Bout was arrested in Thailand in response to a complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan. “charged with a four-count indictment,” Bout was extradited from Thailand to New York.