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Viktor Bout is a name that strikes fear into the hearts of many. Known as the “Merchant of Death,” Bout is one of the most notorious arms dealers in modern history.
His vast network of connections and his willingness to do business with anyone, regardless of their political or moral stance, made him a valuable asset to governments, rebels, and terrorists alike.
His exploits have been the subject of books, documentaries, and Hollywood films, and his capture and subsequent trial have captivated the world.
What is Viktor Bout’s Net Worth
As of 2023, Viktor Bout’s net worth is speculated to be $50 million. It is believed that Viktor Bout amassed a significant fortune through his arms trafficking activities.
Therefore, it is challenging to determine Viktor Bout’s exact net worth due to the secretive nature of his business dealings.
Some reports suggest that he may have hidden assets in various offshore accounts and that his net worth could be tens of billions of dollars. However, this article will examine Viktor Bout’s life, background, career, net worth, and more.
Viktor Bout’s Net Worth Growth
During his trial, the prosecution presented evidence that Bout had earned over $6 billion in revenue from his arms trafficking activities.
The prosecution also presented evidence that Bout owned a fleet of cargo planes and had a network of shell companies that he used to launder money and evade law enforcement.
However, there is no public record of how much money Viktor Bout makes yearly.
Many people remember Viktor Anatolyevich Bout as an arms dealer, but he didn’t start as that. Viktor was a translator with the Soviet Union Military.
The Merchant of Death, as he is popularly called, is a polyglot. He gained mastery of six foreign languages, a skill that eventually paved the way for his arms dealing business later on.
|Net Worth:||$50 Million|
|Full name:||Viktor Anatolyevich Bout|
|Popular name:||Merchant of Death|
|Date of Birth:||January 13, 1967|
|Place of Birth:||Dushanbe, Tajikistan|
|Country of origin:||Russia|
|Height:||5 ft 11 in (1.8 m)|
|Weight:||160 lbs (73 kg)|
|Profession:||Entrepreneur, arms dealer|
|Social Media Accounts:||N/A|
Bout established his cargo airline, Air Cess, in the early 1990s. The company specializes in transporting goods to conflict zones in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
Bout got his start in the arms trade in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union. He began by selling surplus military equipment, such as tanks and helicopters, to African countries that were in the midst of civil wars.
Bout’s business grew rapidly, and he soon expanded his operations to other regions, including the Middle East and South Asia.
Known for supplying weapons to various armed groups, rebels, and governments around the world, Bout’s illicit activities earned him a fortune estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Bout was able to make large profits from his arms dealing by purchasing weapons from surplus stocks of the Russian military at low prices.
He then went on and resold them at inflated prices to clients who were willing to pay a premium for his discretion and ability to source hard-to-find weapons.
In addition to his arms dealing activities, Bout also became involved in other illicit activities, such as smuggling and money laundering, which further increased his wealth.
Investment and Endorsement
Despite his illegal activities, Bout was able to amass a significant amount of wealth and invest it in various businesses. Some of his investments included real estate, aviation, and shipping.
He owned a fleet of cargo planes and ships, which he used to transport arms and other goods.
Bout was also known for his endorsement of various products and services. He appeared in advertisements for companies such as Transavia Airlines and was reportedly paid millions for his endorsement deals.
The details of Viktor Bout’s personal life remain shrouded in mystery. His official Russian passport states that he was born in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on January 13, 1967.
However, he was heard in a 2002 interview in Moscow citing the surroundings of the Caspian Sea in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, as his birthplace.
A 2001 South African intelligence report indicates Viktor Bout as Ukrainian. His Interpol arrest warrant points to Smolensk as his birthplace.
Bout attended Moscow’s Military Institute of Foreign Languages in the late 1980s, where he learned six languages. He also earned an Economics degree from the Russian military college.
He went on to serve in the Soviet military as a translator. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, he launched into the freight industry.
Then he began to supply weapons to various countries and armed groups, including the Taliban in Afghanistan and Charles Taylor’s regime in Liberia.
It was said that Bout made a profit of $50 million from supplying the Taliban with military equipment in Afghanistan.
Bout’s alleged involvement in the international arms trade led to his arrest in 2008 in Thailand.
He was extradited to the United States, where he was convicted in 2011 of conspiring to sell arms to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a designated terrorist organization.
He was accused of purposely plotting to kill American officials in Colombia. This gave the United States, which had long sought a legitimate excuse to throw him behind bars, sufficient evidence against him.
Despite his criminal activities, Bout is seen by some as a hero and a patriot who defends his country’s interests in the face of Western aggression.
He was known to have provided arms and other support to Russian forces during the wars in Chechnya.
Viktor Bout is married to Alla Bout, and they have a daughter named Elizabeth. Both children were born in the 1990s.
After his arrest, authorities seized several of Bout’s assets, including planes, hotels, and businesses.
Bout was known for operating an air fleet of cargo planes that he used to transport weapons and other illegal goods. Authorities seized several of Bout’s aircraft, including a Boeing 727 and a Boeing 737.
He also owned the luxurious Moscow Radisson Slavyanskaya hotel, which the Russian government seized in 2010. The hotel was later sold to the Azerbaijani state oil company SOCAR.
Bout operated several cargo companies, including Air Cess and Ilyushin Finance Co. These companies were seized by authorities and placed under the control of a trustee.
The merchant of death also had multiple bank accounts worldwide, which were frozen by authorities. The US government claimed that Bout had used these accounts to launder money and fund his illegal activities.
He also owned several properties in Thailand, including a mansion in Bangkok, which was seized by authorities. He also owned properties in Russia, including an apartment in Moscow.
It is estimated that Bout’s assets were worth hundreds of millions of dollars. However, much of his wealth is believed to have been hidden in offshore accounts and other secret locations, making it difficult for authorities to recover his assets.
1. What is Viktor Bout known for?
Viktor Bout is known for his involvement in illegal arms trafficking, which has earned him the nickname “Merchant of Death.”
He has been accused of providing arms to various rebel groups and dictators, including the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone, and former Liberian President Charles Taylor.
2. How was Viktor Bout caught?
Viktor Bout was arrested in Bangkok, Thailand, in March 2008, following a sting operation by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
3. What happened to Viktor Bout after his arrest?
Viktor Bout was extradited to the United States in November 2010, where he was charged with conspiracy to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization.
In November 2011, he was found guilty by a US federal court and sentenced to 25 years.
4. What is Viktor Bout’s current status?
He was released in December 2022 by the US government in exchange for Brittney Griner, an American detained in a Russian prison.
Viktor Bout’s net worth remains a topic of interest and controversy. Due to his involvement in illegal activities and the covert nature of this business, it is difficult to determine the exact amount of his wealth.
Ultimately, the legacy of Viktor Bout serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers and consequences of engaging in illegal activities for personal gain.