Saturday, February 9, 2013


Richard Chichakli, the Syrian-American Accountant who is alleged to have been Viktor's money launderer and CFO, has been denied bail in Melbourne Magistrate's Court in Australia. Chichakli is being held for extradition to the United States, where he faces Federal charges of money laundering, and violation of the IEEPA, which were filed in 2009 in New York. Viktor Bout was also charged, but under US law he cannot be tried in this case, for his extradition from Thailand was on other charges.

He had requested bail due to Special Circumstances, citing:
(1) Harsh prison conditions in the city's Metropolitan Remand Centre.
(2) The likelihood that the court process surrounding his extradition was expected to long and complex.

The sitting magistrate denied his request, ruling that there was a substantial risk of flight, and that the detainee, who had taken six overseas trips since he entered Australia in 2010, had the capacity and motivation to do so. Chichakli had entered the country with a Syrian passport identifying him as Jehad Almustafa, along with a Russian girlfriend, and had duly obtained a visa. When he applied for a Protective Services Officer position, and was fingerprinted, his Interpol Red Notice surfaced.

Chichakli* has indicated that he will contest extradition, because the US charges do not exist under Australian law. He is being held under maximum security conditions, in solitary confinement, as a escape risk. His next scheduled court appearance will be on 12 March, when the United States formally presents extradition documents.
Richard Chichakli in court in Australia

* Chichakli has been linked to Bout's shipments of advanced Russian-manufactured weapons to Hezbollah, when he resided in Syria, after fleeing the United States.

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