NEW YORK, February 21 (RIA Novosti) - Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian ex-pilot convicted in the United States on drug trafficking charges, has never worked for Viktor Bout, another Russian sentenced to a US prison term, Yaroshenko’s lawyer said on Wednesday.
New York prosecutors have said that Yaroshenko, sentenced to 20 years in prison for an attempt to smuggle a batch of drugs to the US, has earlier worked for Bout. A US court sentenced Bout to 25 years in prison for an attempt to sell weapons to Colombian rebels. Both Russians claim their innocence, saying they had fallen victims of provocations by US special services.
“My client has never worked for Victor Bout. He says that he first met him in a [pre-trial] detention facility in New York,” lawyer Alexei Tarasov told RIA Novosti.
Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia along with Nigerian Chigbo Peter Umeh in an undercover operation in May 2010. Shortly after, both were taken to the United States where they were found guilty of attempted drugs trafficking.