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‘Merchant of Death’ Viktor Bout now part of a deal himself

By JIM HEINTZ
Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who returned to Moscow after a swap for WNBA star Brittney Griner, is widely known outside the country as the “Merchant of Death” who fueled some of the world’s worst conflicts. At home, however, he is seen as a swashbuckling businessman who was unjustly imprisoned after being convicted in 2011 on terrorism charges in what his supporters called an overly aggressive U.S. sting operation. The former Soviet air force officer gained fame supposedly by supplying weapons for civil wars in South America, the Middle East and Africa. His clients were said to include Liberia’s Charles Taylor, longtime Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and both sides in Angola’s civil war. Russia has pressed for Bout’s release for years.

Article Topic Follows: AP National News

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