Richard Ammar Chichakli, the Syrian-American accountant who, with his partner, Viktor Bout, attempted to evade international sanctions, and illegally purchase aircraft for their clients, has been extradited to New York, where he faces several Federal charges*:
(1) Money Laundering Conspiracy.
(2) Wire Fraud.
(3) Conspiracy to commit Wire Fraud.
(4) IEEPA violations.
Chichakli, whose other aliases include Robert Cunning and Raman Cedorov, was arrested in Australia when he applied, under still another alias, for a law enforcement position. He agreed to be extradited over a month ago, but arrived in the United States at the end of next week. He reportedly was denied bail, at a First Appearance on Saturday, but due to the long holiday weekend, the court file does not yet contain any corroborating information.
The defendant is believed to have been the primary money launderer for convicted arms trafficker Viktor Bout, and he may have information on where Bout secreted the lucrative profits he received for supplying arms and ammunition to both sides, in many armed conflicts in Africa and Asia. The question is: will he cooperate with law enforcement, and enter into a plea agreement, to reduce his potentially long sentence ? Stay tuned.
*United States vs. Richard Chichakli et al, Case No.: 09-cr-1002-WHP (SDNY).