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‘I was framed because of Bout’ – jailed Russian pilot

Published time: October 17, 2011 03:30
Edited time: October 17, 2011 07:30
ussian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko

ussian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko

Sentenced to 20 years in prison for alleged drug trafficking, Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko says the case against him was concocted by the US after he declined to give evidence against Russian businessman and alleged arms deal Viktor Bout.

­In an interview with Russia’s Izvestia newspaper, Yaroshenko stated that his case was directly tied to the case against Bout. The latter was arrested in Thailand and, after spending more than a year in a Thai prison, was extradited to the US for alleged arms smuggling to Latin American terrorists.

Bout’s trial started in New York on October 11.

According to Yaroshenko, in exchange for giving evidence against Bout on a regular basis, he was offered freedom and a US residence permit for himself, his wife Victoria and his 14-year-old daughter Katya. The last proposal, he claimed, was made just recently.

Yaroshenko believes the American authorities needed to untangle the delivery routes of Bout, who used to own an airfreight company delivering cargo to clients in Africa and Asia.

The Russian pilot declared that he never met Bout and that the only time he saw him was briefly in a Manhattan jail where both of them were held.

Yaroshenko said the pandemonium surrounding his case started because of his bad English.

While in the African country of Guinea in 2009, Yaroshenko said, he contacted the Irish owner of a local airline named James Scott in order to find a plane and a job. And according to Yaroshenko, quite improvidently he mentioned Viktor Bout’s name.

“My English is really bad,” Yaroshenko said. “[Scott] asked me whether I know this Russian. And I said ‘yes,’ meaning the guy’s story had been broadcast on TV and I had heard about him. That was it – they got onto me.”

Yaroshenko believes it was his poor English that enabled the American authorities to frame him while letting the informers earn good money from his arrest.

“Agents James Scott and Paddie McKee got $450,000 each, while agent Nabile Hadj,  who has ‘exposed’ 12 ‘criminals’ recently, has earned over 1 million dollars,” Yaroshenko claimed.

As for the records proving his guilt, the pilot says, the evidence showing that he refused to deal with supposed drug traffickers simply never made it to court.

The records that were presented to court do not contain any mention of cocaine or drugs, he says.

“They simply proposed to me to fly special flights and diplomatic post from South America – but I refused the proposals made in Kiev, Ukraine, and in Liberia, though they simply attempted to pull ‘yeas’ out of me,” Yaroshenko said.

While in Liberia, he says, he started to suspect that he might have gotten entangled in questionable business, but it was too late.

On May 28, 2010, American special agents abducted Yaroshenko from the Royal Hotel in the Liberian capital Monrovia, and on May 30 forwarded him to the US without notifying the Russian authorities.

Yaroshenko remembers that the first time he was allowed to meet with the Russian consul was half a year later, in January 2011, but the diplomat acknowledged the situation to be beyond his mandate.

“The last chance I have lays with the Russian authorities and extradition to Russia,” concluded Yaroshenko.

Comments (3)


raydpratt 29.05.2014 01:39

I don't have access to the evidence, and the above article is my only prior source of information, so it would be unwise for me to say that the charges are false. Nonetheless, there have been many allegedly similar cases brought against Americans who chose not to help the government as false witnesses or as conscripted informants. These Americans were not criminals, but they had potential or arguable contacts. One example published in Playboy was a guy who used to create secret compartments in vehicles (not illegal in itself), but who was prosecuted after he refused to be a front sting operation for the government.


Regula 18.02.2014 08:52

Looks like the US wanted to concoct a case whereby Bout was delivering weapons to South America for which those "terrorists&quo t; whoever they may have been, paid with drugs which Yaroshenko presumably shipped to the EU and US via Africa. That would likely have suited the US politically. For the rest it was just deterring someone else from making drug profits which the US reserves for itself. Anybody who hasn't understood yet that the US war on drugs is a political tool, not a means to eradicate drug trade, is naive. The US was even caught selling drugs to pay for special ops - i.e. Iran contra.


Regula 18.02.2014 08:41

This appears to be mostly a political case, to vilify Russia and Russian nationals. Assuming things are as Yaroshenko says - and that is very possible given the CIA/FBI's methods - he was framed because he was Russian, worked as cargo pilot and they needed someone to testify against Bout who didn't commit any crime against the US either. The US sold a lot more weapons to South American terrorists than anyone else could have. Apparently Bout's indictment and conviction too is an attempt at besmearing Russia and deter attention from US meddling in South American internal affairs, which is very well known.

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