Richard Chichakli, an associate of convicted international arms dealer Viktor Bout, was arrested in Australia at the U.S. government’s request, prosecutors said.
Chichakli is accused of conspiring with Bout, who is serving a 25-year sentence in federal prison, to purchase aircraft in violation of U.S. economic sanctions. The men were barred from purchasing the aircraft because the U.S. Treasury found they were associated with former Liberian President Charles Taylor, prosecutors said.
Chichakli was arrested yesterday, the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan said today in a statement.
Prosecutors unsealed a new indictment against Chichakli Jan. 2 charging him with conspiracy to violate U.S. export restrictions, money laundering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy and six counts of wire fraud. Each charge carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison, according to Bharara’s office.
Bout was convicted in November 2011 of conspiring to sell weapons to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, which has been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.
The case is U.S. v. Chichakli, 09-cr-1002, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan.)