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Australia Arrests Associate Of Jailed Arms Smuggler Viktor Bout

Viktor Bout was sentenced to 25 years in jail.
U.S. authorities say an associate of convicted Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout has been arrested in Australia.

The U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan announced January 10 that Syrian-born U.S. citizen Richard Ammar Chichakli was arrested at the request of the United States on January 9.

He faces charges of conspiring with Bout and others to try to buy aircraft from two U.S. companies.

New York prosecutor Preet Bharara said the aircraft were meant to transport weapons "to some of the world's bloodiest conflict zones, in violation of international sanctions."

Bout, nicknamed the "Merchant of Death," was sentenced to 25 years in prison last year after being found guilty of conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens and officials, deliver antiaircraft missiles, and provide aid to terrorists.

Russia has condemned his sentence as "baseless and biased."

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters