Viktor Bout, Russia’s ‘Merchant of Death,’ has a story that spans from clandestine activities to international notoriety. This article answers several questions like Viktor Bout net worth, his early life, what he did, and so on, that raised curiosity among the people all around.
Who is Viktor Bout?
Viktor Bout is a Russian arms dealer. He built a shipping empire based in the United Arab Emirates, delivering weapons to various groups. Captured in 2008, Bout was deported to the US, sentenced in 2012, and became a focal point in Russia’s campaign for high-profile prisoner exchanges.
Convicted in 2011 for several charges, Bout served less than half of his 25-year sentence. Bout was exchanged for American basketball star Brittney Griner after Russian officials pressed for his return. He gained notoriety for arms trafficking, and inspiring the film Lord of War. Released in 2022 after serving 10 years, Bout later joined the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia in 2022.
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|Viktor Anatolyevich Bout
|Merchant of Death
|13 January 1967 (age 56)
|Dushanbe, Tajik SSR, Soviet Union
Viktor Bout Net Worth
As of 2023, Viktor Bout (possibly) owns a net worth of $50 million based on his arms trade and alleged involvement in illegal businesses.
Early Life and Career
Viktor Bout, accused of selling weapons globally, grew up in Tajikistan and studied in Moscow. Based on the info from UN documents, Bout was born on January 13, 1967. His family included an older brother named Sergei Bout. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Bout acquired Russian citizenship. Notably, the UN Security Council Committee on Liberia indicates that Bout held at least four passports.
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Early Career in Military
Viktor Bout’s early career was rooted in the Soviet Armed Forces. Bout served as a translator and held the rank of lieutenant. Different sources imply that he graduated from the Soviet Military Institute of Foreign Languages. He even had mastered five different languages. Fluent in Esperanto since his youth, Bout used to be a translator for the Soviet Army.
Upon the dissolution of the Soviet Army, Bout’s military career took a turn, with conflicting reports on his rank and affiliations. Some sources suggest he was discharged with the rank of lieutenant colonel, while others propose he held the rank of major in the GRU, and served as a Soviet Air Forces officer. His official website claimed he served as a lieutenant in the Soviet Army.
Bout was also part of a Soviet military mission during the late 1980s, helping the MPLA in the Angolan Civil War.
Source Behind Viktor Bout Net Worth
Career In Arms Trafficking
Viktor Bout’s earnings have mostly come from his involvement in arms trafficking and illicit activities. Bout, an infamous arms dealer, used to smuggle weapons from Eastern Europe to regions.
Bout’s operations included evading embargoes, flouting arms embargoes in various conflict zones, and supplying weapons to rebel groups, militants, and terrorists globally. His diverse enterprises and networks contributed to his financial success, which apparently allowed him to amass wealth through the illegal arms trade.
The black market for military supplies from former Soviet states, as well as Bout’s skeptical mindset, enabled him to build a lucrative shipping empire.
While specific figures on his earnings are not available, it is quite obvious that his wealth was generated mostly from his arms trafficking business. As the owner of multiple weapons manufacturer companies, Bout’s made his millions of empire. He, as a businessman, transporter of weapons, and dealer, earned this million of fortune over the years.
Viktor Bout–Brittney Griner prisoner exchange
June 2020, whispers of a potential swap dance around Moscow involving tough pieces like US Marine Corps veteran Paul Whelan for the enigmatic Viktor Bout. Fast forward to May 2022, and the Biden administration throws in a wildcard, suggesting Viktor Bout as the trade for the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner, caught up in a Russian legal tangle over forbidden substances.
Diplomatic moves got intricate. A substantial offer is on the table – the US wanted both Griner and Paul Whelan back. Viktor Bout stepped into the spotlight, seemingly the chosen for exchange. December 8, 2022, Viktor Bout is homeward bound to Russia. However, Paul Whelan is left on the sideline, expressing his frustration in a heartfelt CNN interview.
In this game of high-stakes negotiations, President Biden reassures that the fight to bring Paul Whelan home continues. The stakes may move unexpectedly, but the commitment to securing Whelan’s release stands firm.
Since 1992, Viktor Bout has been sharing life’s adventures with his wife Alla Vladimirovna Bout. She is not just a creative artist and designer but also used to run clothing stores worldwide. They first crossed paths in the late ‘80s in Mozambique, where Viktor worked as a translator for the Soviet military mission.
Their story unfolded, leading to the birth of their daughter in 1994 while they were living in the UAE. Bout believes in all about that vegetarian life. He doesn’t follow a specific religion. But he finds inspiration in thinkers like Leo Tolstoy and Ivan Ilyin.
And as we’ve mentioned before, he’s got quite the linguistic palette – English, French, Portuguese, Tajik, Farsi, Dari, Zulu, Xhosa, and Esperanto. He mastered them during his time behind bars.
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Who was Viktor Bout married to?
Viktor Bout has been married to Alla Vladimirovna Bout since 1992.
Where is Viktor Bout now?
Last we heard, Viktor Bout is back on Russian soil, making moves and embracing whatever comes next since his release on December 8, 2022.
Is there a movie about Viktor Bout?
Yes, the film Lord of War, released in 2005, was inspired by Bout’s story. Also, there is a documentary film The Notorious Mr. Bout, focussing on the life of Viktor Bout.
To sum up, we have had a glimpse of Viktor Bout net worth and his life. From his controversial career to personal choices and international exchanges, his story had a quite unpredictable turn of diplomatic maneuvering.