Friday, September 6, 2013


Viktor Bout and Andrew Smulian, in Red Square

Andrew Smulian, the former South African soldier of fortune, who was an ex-military aviation and surveillance professional that worked with Viktor Bout in his attempted sale of massive amounts of arms to individuals who held themselves out to be leaders of the FARC, has completed his five-year Federal sentence*. Smulian was quietly released this July. he still faces five years of Supervised Release, the present Federal program for post-incarceration monitoring, and a civil judgment was entered against him for fifteen million dollars, but nevertheless, he is a free man.

Smulian, whose two and a half days of testimony at Bout's trial were a key part of the government's case, cooperated with the authorities after his arrest in Thailand. The United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York sought, and obtained, a major 5k1.1 USSG Downward Departure from the 25-year sentence that his crimes mandated. Several of the filed documents in his case remain sealed, but his trial testimony effectively negated most of Bout's defenses, and corroborated the undercover agents' versions of Bout's efforts to supply surface-to-air missiles to what he believed to be a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organization. You may recall that the judges hearing Bout's appeal reportedly were not convinced that there was reversible error, if one takes their Oral Argument questions as indications of their leanings.

 He did spend approximately 49 months in pre-trial custody, all of it in the severely restrictive Special Housing Unit (SHU) of New York's Metropolitan Correction Center, meaning isolated and solitary confinement, with no real recreational opportunities. There were obviously personal safety considerations; he needed to be protected from harm prior to his trial testimony.

Unlike Viktor Bout and his close associate, Richard Chichakli, Smulian has no known previous links to either the American, or the Russian, intelligence services. Most of his military service was conducted on behalf of South African intelligence, surveilling the countries on the South African frontier.

There was a sealed document filed in Smulian's case a month after his release. Did the Court quietly allow him to return to his native South Africa, where he cannot be supervised ? Such arrangements do occur from time to time, and his felony conviction makes him an undesirable in many countries.

If Smulian appears in public outside the United States, we shall update this information for our readers.
*United States vs. Smulian, 08-cr-00711-SAS (SD NY). 

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