Viktor Bout, born on January 13, 1967, is a former Soviet military officer and international arms dealer. Known as the "Merchant of Death," Bout gained notoriety for his involvement in illicit arms trafficking, supplying weapons to various conflict zones worldwide.
Hailing from Tajikistan, he established a vast network that spanned continents, utilizing a fleet of cargo planes to transport weapons to conflict zones in Africa, the Middle East, and beyond. Arrested in Thailand in 2008 and extradited to the United States, Bout faced charges of conspiracy to kill US citizens, supporting terrorism, and violating arms embargoes. In 2011, he was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Viktor Bout's Net Worth in 2023
Viktor Bout, a renowned international arms dealer, is believed to possess a net worth of $50 million. Operating predominantly during the 1980s and 1990s.
Bout purportedly leveraged a network of air transport companies to illicitly transport weapons, valued potentially in the billions, from Eastern Europe to the Middle East and Africa after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Throughout several decades, he amassed substantial wealth, with an estimated annual income exceeding $5 million from his diverse engagements.
Real Estates Investments
Viktor Bout owned an opulent residence situated in Zhukovka, an affluent suburb of Moscow. Valued at approximately $6 million, the mansion boasted luxurious amenities such as a swimming pool, sauna, gym, and even a cinema room.
This lavish dwelling served as a tangible reflection of the extravagant lifestyle that Bout had acquired through his lucrative arms deals.
Viktor Bout Movies and TV Shows
Viktor Bout's life has been a source of inspiration for numerous media projects, including the film "Lord of War" and documentaries like "The Notorious Mr. Bout."
His narrative has also been featured in episodes of "Manhunt: Kill or Capture" and "Damian Lewis: Spy Wars." The enduring fascination with Bout's story highlights its global appeal, offering audiences insights into the complex realm of international arms dealing.
He is a Former Military Personal
Viktor Bout, a former Soviet Armed Forces member, graduated from the Soviet Military Institute of Foreign Languages, becoming proficient in five languages and fluent in Esperanto. While his military career remains unclear, he claimed to serve as a translator with the rank of lieutenant.
Discharged around the Soviet Union's dissolution in 1991, conflicting reports suggest he held various ranks, including lieutenant colonel, major in the GRU, or an operative of the KGB. Bout participated in a Soviet military mission in Angola in the late 1980s during the civil war, supporting the MPLA. His brief African stint also led him to learn Xhosa and Zulu languages.
Viktor Bout, a former Soviet military member, utilized his strategic position to acquire surplus Soviet-era military equipment post the USSR's collapse, founding Air Cess in Liberia in 1995.
Operating in Africa, his companies, including Air Cess, were involved in legal air freight services for governments, the UN, and the US, despite earning the moniker "Sanctions Buster" for violating UN arms embargoes in Angola, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Bout faced allegations of arms trafficking during the Yugoslav Wars and the Angolan Civil War, with connections to Charles Taylor in Liberia. In the 2000s, he continued supplying weapons, faced accusations of money laundering, and had reported dealings with Hezbollah and Libyan officials. Notably, he played a controversial role in American supply lines in Iraq, receiving substantial payments.
In early 2008, Viktor Bout, a former Soviet military officer and international arms dealer, faced charges in a US-led sting operation where he allegedly agreed to supply missiles and rocket launchers to Colombian rebels.
Arrested in Bangkok in March 2008 based on a US extradition request, Bout faced charges including conspiracy to support terrorism and providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.
After a prolonged legal battle, the Bangkok Criminal Court initially denied extradition in August 2009, citing political rather than criminal grounds. However, a higher court reversed the decision in August 2010, leading to Bout's extradition to the United States in November 2010 amid Russian government protests.
Swapping of WNBA Player, Brittney Griner in 2020
In June 2020, Moscow explored a potential prisoner swap involving U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, charging him with exchanging Viktor Bout and pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko. Yaroshenko was later released in April 2022 in exchange for U.S. Marine Trevor Reed.
In May 2022, reports suggested the Biden administration proposed swapping Bout for the release of WNBA player Brittney Griner, detained in Russia for drug possession. President Biden supported the idea in July. On 27 July, Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed a substantial offer to Russia for Griner and Paul Whelan, potentially involving Bout.
Bout was ultimately released to Russia on 8 December 2022, excluding Whelan from the exchange. In an exclusive CNN interview, Whelan expressed frustration over his ongoing imprisonment and disappointment with the efforts to secure his release. President Biden affirmed the commitment to continue working towards Whelan's release.
Viktor Bout Wives and Kids
Viktor Bout, the notorious arms dealer, has been married to Alla Vladimirovna Bout since 1992. Alla, born in Leningrad in 1970, is an artist, designer, and former owner of clothing stores in the UAE, Germany, South Africa, and Russia.
They first met in the late 1980s in Mozambique, where Bout worked as a translator for the Soviet military. Alla's second marriage resulted in the birth of their daughter in 1994 in the UAE.
Viktor's elder brother and former partner, Sergey Anatolyevich Bout, continues to operate an aviation business in the United Arab Emirates (Sharjah) and Bulgaria.
Viktor Anatolyevich Bout, born on 13 January 1967 in Dushanbe, Tajik SSR, Soviet Union, is a figure of uncertain origins. While his birthplace is widely acknowledged as Dushanbe, Tajikistan, his birth date remains somewhat ambiguous, with 13 January 1967 considered most likely.
Bout, an ethnic Ukrainian, acquired Russian citizenship after the Soviet Union's dissolution in 1991. Contradictory information exists about his nationality, with some sources identifying him as Tajik or Tajik-born.
Bout's family includes an older brother, Sergei Bout. He holds at least four passports, as reported by the UN Security Council Committee on Liberia, adding complexity to his identity.