Saturday, August 30, 2014


The case of Richard Chichakli, the Syrian-American accountant convicted of sanctions violations, has been scheduled for sentencing on November 14. The defendant, thought by many to have been Viktor Bout's primary money launderer and financial advisor, will be representing himself, with standby counsel available to assist. The Court has set deadline dates for the filing of sentencing memoranda.

Chichakli has a large number of Pro Se post-trial motions pending, including multiple motions for a new trial, all of which must be resolved prior to sentencing. The fact that the District Judge set the scheduling, and did not dispose of pending motions first, could indicate the Court does not regard the motions, some of which are rambling, and bereft of citations to authorities, as having any merit at law.

Viktor Bout, the other defendant, cannot be tried on the charges, because he was not extradited from Thailand for this case, but for the one in which he was convicted and sentenced in New York. His attorneys in Russia, after indicating that they were building a "dream team" of American specialists, failed to timely take his conviction to the US Supreme Court, and have not engaged any US lawyers to attack his conviction and sentence through a collateral proceeding, alleging that Bout cannot afford any more attorneys' fees. His primary Russian lawyer has promised to now make a truthful motion picture about Bout's life, but no concrete plans about such a film have been given to the Russian press, which avidly follows everything about Bout, who has many supporters there.


There have been persistent rumors about Chichakli and/or Bout going public about their reputed extensive activities, in the employ of the Central Intelligence Agency, in their defense, but no such information was ever disclosed. One issue appears to be whether classified information, relating to such operations, reportedly conducted on behalf of the US intelligence community, was seized in Bout's laptop, during his arrest in Bangkok, and if such information would reveal covert activities, of a sensitive nature, which Bout and Chichakli conducted. Hints from Bout's counsel appeared to indicate that powerful information would surface, at the appropriate time, during his case.

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