Viktor Anatolyevich Bout (Russian: Виктор Анатольевич Бут) (born 13 January 1967, near Dushanbe, Tajik SSR, Soviet Union) is a Russian businessman who established a number of air cargo companies. Widely seen in the Western media as a weapons merchant, he is currently detained by the United States federal government, facing trial on charges that stem from his alleged agreement to arm a terrorist group.
A former Soviet military translator, Bout had reportedly made a significant amount of money through his multiple air transport companies shipping cargo mostly in Africa and the Middle East during the 1990s and early 2000s. Just as willing to work for Charles Taylor in Liberia as he was for the United Nations in Sudan and the United States in Iraq, Bout may have facilitated huge arms shipments into various civil wars in Africa with his private air cargo fleets during the 1990s.
While claiming to have done little more than provide logistics, he has been called a "sanctions buster" by former British Foreign Office minister Peter Hain who described Bout as, "the principal conduit for planes and supply routes that take arms... from east Europe, principally Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine, to Liberia and Angola."