Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2002. Page 3
Bout Linked to Taliban Gold
The Moscow Times Planes owned by Russian businessman Viktor Bout have been used to fly al-Qaida and Taliban gold to Sudan in recent weeks, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
Several shipments of gold were delivered by boat from Karachi, Pakistan, to either Iran or the United Arab Emirates, the newspaper said, citing unidentified European intelligence officials. From there, the gold was flown on charted planes to the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, where al-Qaida has broad business contacts, the paper said.
European officials believe the gold was transported by Air Bas, an airline set up recently by Bout and managed by his brother Sergei, said Douglas Farah, the author of The Washington Post report, in a telephone interview.
Further details of Bout's possible involvement in the shipments were not immediately clear Tuesday.
Bout is wanted by Belgium police on charges of laundering money from illegal arms trading in Africa. The police, who issued an international arrest warrant for Bout in February, said Tuesday that they had no information about the gold shipments.
European and U.S. officials consider Bout to be a major arms dealer, trading mostly with Third World countries. They have said he also ferried shipments of weapons and medicine for the Taliban.
Back to Victor Bout's file