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NEW YORK, April 6 (Itar-Tass) —— A federal judge in New York on Thursday sentenced Russian businessman Viktor Bout who U.S. media called the Merchant of Death to 25 years in prison which is a mandatory minimum for the charges.
The prosecution demanded a life sentence to the 45-year old Bout who was found guilty by a Manhattan federal court jury last autumn of agreeing to sell arms to people he thought were Colombian militants planning to attack American soldiers.
Bout was arrested in Bangkok in 2008 after a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sting operation and extradited to New York in November 2010 despite Russian objections. Prosecutors said he was ready to sell up to $20 million in weapons including surface-to-air missiles to shoot down U.S. helicopters.
Bout denied the charges and insisted he was a law-abiding businessman. His lawyers said Bout did not plan to sell any weapons and went to Bangkok in 2008 with the only aim to sell two of his idle aircraft.