Victor Anatoliyevich Bout.
Arms dealer, fugitive from justice, Halliburton subcontractor.
Born in Tashkent, Bout has been variously reported as having served in the USSR Air Force or the KGB. With the breakup of the USSR, he bought several surplus military transports and set up as a freelance gun-runner. Bout has been the principal supplier of arms to conflict areas under UN arms embargo, supplying governments, or rebel movements in places such as Sierra Leone, Liberia(Charles Taylor), Angola(UNITA), Congo, al Qaeda, Afghanistan(Taliban), and Somalia.
Since 2002, he has been under indictment in Belgium for money laundering, though he has been on the run since. He seems to be able to evade capture with ease because of his connections with persons in various governments.
In spite of his fugitive status, known Bout fronts, such as Air Bas, received contracts for Kellogg Brown and Root supply flights for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Air Bas was licensed to land at, and buy US military fuel at, US bases, a privilege which was freely exercised. (And possibly for purposes other than OIF contracts.) These privileges have since been rescinded, but he may still be contracting under yet others of his shell companies.
- Matthew Brunwasser, "Victor Anatoliyevich Bout: The embargo buster:Fuelling bloody civil wars", Frontline, PBS, May 2002.
- Ruud Leeuw, "Victor Bout's File". (This page has a collection of links to various articles).
- Soj, "The Strange and Mysterious Alliance of Victor B., DailyKos, May 19th, 2004.