US: Corrupt arms dealer sentenced
On 5 April, arms-dealer Viktor Bout was sentenced by a New York judge to 25 years in prison and ordered to forfeit US $15 million. It was widely believed that much of his business was secured through corrupt transactions by foreign government officials, including the former Liberian president, Charles Taylor, who is currently awaiting judgment on war crimes charges.
As a result of the investigation and prosecution, US authorities froze a number of US bank accounts belonging to shell companies linked to Bout. To date, US Treasury officials have identified 12 such companies, located in Florida, Texas and Delaware, which were owned by shell companies set up by Bout.
Bout's lawyer stated that they were planning to appeal the conviction, and emphasised that his client was an entirely legitimate businessman.