Viktor Bout and the Eastern Euro connection-Charter 97

January 7, 2010

Viktar Bout’s trace found in Thai arms scandal

Charter 97: December 15, 2009

http://charter97.org/en/news/2009/12/15/24584/

The IL-76, seized in Bangkok, was owned to Viktor Bout’s company and later was sold to a firm linked with a Serbian arms trafficker.

Swedish expert on arms trafficking Hugh Griffiths said this. According to him, selling the aircraft to a Georgian company was just a cover, the plane is still used by criminal structures, Russian “Gazeta” reports.

Eastern European arms dealers are involved in the case with the IL-76 plane carrying weapons from N Korea, detained in the Bangkok airport on December 12. Hugh Griffiths, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, said this on December 15.

According to Griffiths, the investigation revealed that the IL-76 plane was registered under a company Beibars linked to Serbian arms trafficker Tonislav Damnjanovic. Referring to the US Treasury Department, Griffiths noted the aircraft was registered with three companies controlled by Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who in Thai prison at the moment.

The expert supposes the plane may have been sold to Georgia as a blind, but in real fact it was still used by criminal structures for arms trafficking. Griffiths explained the IL-76 aircraft was registered in Georgia because the European Union had banned all cargo carriers registered in Kazakhstan, where Beibars is registered. According to the expert, if the plane registration of the plane had not been changed, it couldn’t be able to cargo weapons.

“They are like flocks of migrating birds, these aircraft, “Griffiths said. “They change from one company to another because the previous company has either been closed down for safety reasons or been identified in a UN trafficking report.”

Griffiths told in an interview to Associated Press that as past owners of the plane had been detected, it would be easy to find out the ultimate destination of the weapons.” The mystery surrounding this aircraft is solved. Now investigators know who to question to find out the ultimate destination of the weapons.”

The expert thinks it is enough to know the countries the plane was used to ship arms to. According to the UN documents, Griffiths says, these are Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Sudan and Chad.

We remind that five crew members, a Belarusian citizen and four citizens of Kazakhstan, were detained with the plane. The aircraft had been registered in Kazakhstan, but later was sold to a Georgian company Air West Georgia and then leased to Ukrainian SP Trading.

The IL-76 aircraft, registration 4L-AWA, was detained at Don Muang Airport (Bankok), where it landed to refuel, on December 12. According to the Thai authorities, the plane was searched and seized after information of the US security service. 35 tons of weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades, missiles and other war weapons and containers with ammunition, were found. The arms was hidden, in accordance with supporting documents, the plane was carrying oil-drilling equipment. The crew, Mikhail Petukhov from Belarus, and Alexander Zrybnev, Viktor Abdullayev, Vitaly Shumkov and Ilyas Isakov from Kazakhstan, were was detained as well.

They have already been charged with false cargo declare, violation of the rules of carriage and arms trafficking. However, The Nation notes that the detained may face new accusations as they violated both Thai and international laws. A special commission to deal with the crew has been formed in Bangkok in association with the police.

Arms dealer Viktor Bout served as an officer in Belarusian Vitsebsk for some years. Weapon Bout sold to rebellions and terrorists was produced in Belarus also.

Bout, who is in a Thai prison, was refused bail in early December. The United States is trying to extradite Bout, accused of weapons trafficking. Thailand has rejected all requests of the US so far.

As charter97.org reported, Alyaksandr Lukashenka visited Serbia on an invitation of local businessmen in March 2009. The Serbian media reported that the Belarusian ruler had been invited by Dragomir Karic.

Businessman Karic has ties in political, business and scientific circles in former Yugoslavian states and abroad, including Russia.

Dragomir Karic and his brothers Bogoljub, Zoran and Sreten own multinational The Karic Brothers Company, Dragomir Karic also found Karicevog, an association of manufacturers and businessmen.

What to Bogoljub Karic, he occupied high governmental posts in Milosevic’s time. His last post was the minister of privatization of the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia. The brothers do not try to hide their riches. They are still dubbed court bankers and main money guards main money securities of the Milosevic family.

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