Russian businessman Viktor Bout, who was found guilty by a New York court of conspiracy to kill US nationals and to deliver anti-aircraft missiles, has called his trial “hypocritical” and an example of “double standards”.
The former Soviet military officer was convicted in November of “conspiring to kill American citizens” and selling millions of dollars worth of weapons to the Colombian rebel group FARC.
Bout says he never believed he had any chance of winning the case against him since the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) “spent $ 100 million” on an operation to capture him. He added that since he is charged with attempting to “kill Americans,” as stated in the court files, it would be “impossible” for any US-based jury to find him innocent.
In a telephone interview with the Voice of Russia radio station, Bout claims the DEA accomplished nothing through his arrest aside from “spending taxpayers’ money.”
“The DEA don’t need to go into dangerous situations and fight real drug dealers, they can appoint somebody, an easy catch, create a little bit of story, make sure nobody asks them any questions, and then, you know, get points,” he stated.
Bout went on to say that the Hollywood blockbuster movie, Lord of War, which was said to have been loosely based on his life – played a large role in his trial. He recalled that during his first arrest an agent approached him and said, “Oh, we saw the movie about you; we are so excited, let us take a picture with you.”
Bout, nicknamed the ‘Merchant of Death’ in the US, says he is “like a trophy for them.”
“I am like a hunted deer that they killed and now…want to take a picture; like I’m some wild animal and now they caught me and they’re going to put me in their kitchen and show their kids and their grandkids and say, ‘Oh, we hunted that animal,’” he is quoted as saying.
The Russian expressed his frustration at having to prove his innocence to the American people, who have been “fed through the mass media.”
“But who in the first place created the myth about this animal? They don’t care. They don’t want to know the truth. They believe what they have been eating or what they have been fed through the mass media or mainstream media in (the United States). They can manufacture jurisdiction like they did, they can manufacture nexus’s, they can manufacture a lot of legal stuff but they can’t manufacture the truth.”
“I'm innocent. I haven’t committed any crime,” Bout added.
The convicted Russian businessman pointed out that if the same standards were applied to everyone, all arms suppliers in the US “who are sending arms and ending up killing Americans” would be in prison.
“They are involved even more than me,” he said. “And if you feel this is fair and just, to lock up a person just because he talked about something without doing something, it’s a double standard. It’s hypocrisy.”
Last week prosecutors in New York demanded a life sentence for Bout, 45, who continues to plead his innocence. The court is scheduled to hand down its sentence against the Russian national on April 5.