How Much Wealth Does Viktor Bout “Merchant of Death” Have in 2022?

Merchant of Death Net Worth: As a Russian arms dealer, Viktor Anatolyevich Bout is a notable figure. He was an entrepreneur and former Soviet military translator who, beginning with the fall of the Soviet Union, moved weapons from Eastern Europe to Africa and the Middle East via his various companies.

After British government minister Peter Hain presented a report to the United Nations in 2003 detailing Bout’s extensive business dealings, extensive clientele, and willingness to bypass embargoes, Bout earned the nicknames the Merchant of Death and Sanctions Buster.

On March 6, 2008, the Royal Thai Police, in coordination with the United States Department of Justice and Interpol, arrested Bout in Thailand on terrorism charges. According to the Extradition Act between the United States and Thailand, the Thai High Court ordered his extradition back in August 2010.

The request came from U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Eric G. John. According to the accusations, Bout planned to sell weapons to the U.S. For use against U.S. forces in Colombia, a DEA informant posed as a member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), though he denied the allegations and predicted his own acquittal.

Brief Information About Merchant of Death

Name Viktor bout
D.O.B January 13, 1967
Nationality: Russian
Russian arms dealer
Net Worth $50 million

Merchant of Death’s Net Worth

Merchant of Death Net Worth: Viktor Bout is thought to be worth about $50 million right now.

Some have called Bout the “merchant of death,” while others have called him “one of the most dangerous men on the face of the Earth” for his role in founding the 1990s air-freight company Air Cess, which trafficked weapons around the world and essentially fuelled civil wars in several countries.

There was a time when Air Cess only shipped electronics and textiles from the United Arab Emirates to Afghanistan, but a recent article in The New Yorker claims that the company first shipped televisions, air conditioners, and expensive furniture.

The deputy of Ahmed Shah Massoud approached Bout about “hustling guns” after Massoud became increasingly worried about the “advance of Taliban rebels” as Bout’s business flourished.

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When it came to the arms trade, Bout was completely out of his depth, but he managed to forge a relationship with Peter Mirchev. Bout’s business boomed after the initial meeting, and he eventually amassed “a network of thirty companies around the world,” as reported by The New Yorker. A multimillionaire by the late ’90s, Bout had a workforce of hundreds by that time.

Merchant of Death Career

  • Initially, Viktor Bout worked for the Soviet military; according to his website, he was a translator for the Soviet Army. After presumably leaving the Soviet Army as a lieutenant colonel upon its dissolution in 1991 and starting an air freight business, he is thought to have died in 1993. When the Angolan Civil War broke out in the late 1980s, he was there to help the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) with their cause.
  • After the Soviet Union’s fall, he launches his first air freight company in Africa called Air Cess and delivers goods to Afghanistan’s pre-Taliban government in 1994. Additionally, he was first formally mentioned in connection with arms trafficking after being involved in negotiations to free Russian hostages during the 1995 Airstan incident.
  • His involvement in the arms trade during the Yugoslav Wars led to allegations that he supplied Charles Taylor with weapons during the First Liberian Civil War in Liberia. When 200,000 AK-47 rifles disappeared in May 2006 while being shipped from Bosnia to Iraq, the Slobodna Bosna newspaper claimed that Cengic was Viktor’s business partner.
  • He made an appearance in Moscow, where he said his planes flew frequently to Afghanistan after the 2001 invasion, though he still denied having any connection to al-Qaeda or the Taliban and insisted he only dealt with the rebel Northern Alliance.


How did Viktor Bout get captured?

Merchant of Death Net Worth:  The trafficking of weapons put many people in danger, including Americans, and at first, he didn’t see anything wrong with what he was doing.

U.S. intelligence indicated that Bout was attempting to sell weapons worth millions of dollars to the foreign terrorist organization Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), with the intent that those weapons be used to kill Americans in Colombia.

According to the DOJ, two DEA confidential sources met with Bout in a “covertly recorded meeting in Thailand” in March 2008 to discuss the logistics of transporting the weapons. Additionally, the international arms dealer stated during the meeting that the United States was his “enemy” and that he had been “fighting the United States…for 10 to 15 years.”

According to the DOJ, a complaint was filed in federal court in Manhattan against Bout, and he was subsequently arrested in Thailand. An indictment on four counts led to Bout’s extradition from Thailand to New York.

Merchant of Death Investigation

Merchant of Death Net Worth:  Authorities had a hard time pinning down Bout because he changed addresses frequently, owned multiple businesses, and re-registered his planes frequently. The alleged arms deals with Africa that brought him to prominence have never been brought up as a legal issue for him. Belgium, Lebanon, Rwanda, Russia, South Africa, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates are all places Bout could have called home during his alleged operations.

Bout was accused of document forgery in the Central African Republic in the year 2000, but the case against him was eventually dismissed. The Belgian government has asked Interpol to put out a wanted poster for Bout so that he can be tried for money laundering. Bout was the subject of an Interpol “red notice” in 2002.

According to Bout’s website, a Belgian warrant (not the Interpol notice) for his arrest was issued due to his lack of court appearance but was later rescinded. There’s a document on the site written in Dutch that supposedly proves the case against him in Belgium was dropped because he doesn’t have a permanent place to call home and thus the case couldn’t be prosecuted in a timely manner.

Executive Order 13348, which was issued in July 2004, lists Bout as a “businessman, dealer, and transporter of weapons and minerals,” and places a freeze on his U.S. assets due to his ties to Charles Taylor.

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