Report: Bout says US offered him lighter sentence


MOSCOW (AP) — Viktor Bout, the suspected Russian arms merchant, is being quoted as saying U.S. authorities promised him a lighter sentence in exchange for information about his contacts.

Bout was arrested in Thailand in 2008 in a U.S. sting on charges of conspiring to sell weapons to a terrorist group. He fought extradition, but was sent in November to New York, where he is in federal detention awaiting trial.

Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported Sunday that Bout said he was offered “a lighter sentence…and the possibility of bringing my family to the U.S.A., if I told all I know about my contacts in Russia and other countries. But I responded that I have nothing to say.”

The comment was reportedly relayed by Alexander Otchainov, a Russian vice-consul in the U.S.