– A man accused of being the financial brains behind convicted international arms dealer Viktor Bout has been extradited from Australia to the United States.
Syrian-born Richard Chichakli, 53, had been living in Melbourne under an alias and working as a cleaner for almost three years before authorities arrested him in January.
Mr Chichakli’s cover was blown after he tried to apply for a job as a Victorian Protective Services Officer and a fingerprint check connected him to an Interpol red alert.
“As alleged, Richard Chichakli and Viktor Bout had common cause – the purchase of aircraft in violation of international sanctions against them for their involvement in facilitating arms delivery to some of the world’s most lethal combat zones,” Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said on Saturday.
“With his extradition today to face charges for his flagrant violation of international sanctions and other crimes, he will now face the same American justice Viktor Bout did.”
Bout, nicknamed “The Merchant of Death”, is serving a 25-year prison term after his November 2011 conviction in New York for conspiring to sell millions of dollars of weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a US-designated foreign terrorist organisation.
Before Bout’s arrest in Thailand in March 2008, the 46-year-old Russian ran a massive weapons trafficking business by assembling a fleet of cargo planes capable of transporting weapons and military equipment to various parts of the world, including Africa, South America and the Middle-East.
Mr Chichakli allegedly assisted Bout in the operations and financial management of the network of aircraft companies.
“The arms Bout sold or brokered have fuelled conflicts and supported regimes in Afghanistan, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Sudan,” Mr Bharara said.
“As a result of Bout’s role in pouring arms into these international conflicts, his relationship with Chichakli, and Bout and Chichakli’s close relationship with former Liberian president Charles Taylor, both have been the subject of United Nations Security Council sanctions.”
Mr Chichakli, a US citizen, was due to appear in the US District Court in Manhattan on Saturday.
He is charged with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, plus money laundering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, and six separate counts of wire fraud in connection with the attempted aircraft purchases.
He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each of the nine counts.
Mr Bharara thanked the Australian Federal Police, Victoria Police and the Australian Attorney-General’s Department for their assistance with the case – Peter Mitchell


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
This entry was posted in Arms Dealing, Fraud, Money Laundering, Terrorism and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s