MOSCOW, May 25 (RIA Novosti) – Australia extradited to the United States a man accused of working with Russian national Viktor Bout, convicted in 2011 of arms trafficking, Manhattan U.S. Attorney said Friday.
Richard Ammar Chichakli, who was arrested in Australia in January, is due to show before a US magistrate on Saturday, attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement on the website of the US Department of Justice.
Chichakli, 53, who holds US and Syrian citizenship, faces up to 180 years in prison on accusations of conspiring to violate international sanctions, money laundering and wire fraud.
US prosecutors say Chichakli helped Bout purchase in 2007 two aircraft to be used for arms trafficking, the deal allegedly violating US and international sanctions both men faced over their alleged links to illegal weapons sales and affiliation with former Liberian President Charles Taylor.
Chichakli has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, as did Bout, who is currently serving a 25-year-long jail term in the United States for trying to sell arms to Colombian rebel group FARC.
Official Moscow said the case against Bout– who was arrested in 2008 in Thailand and extradited to the United States – was political and has unsuccessfully tried to have him transferred to Russia.