The Second Circuit Court of Appeals, in a Summary Order*, has upheld the judgment of the District Court, in the controversial case of Richard Ammar Chichakli. Chichakli, reputed to be the partner and money launderer for convicted arms trafficker, Viktor Bout, was convicted in a nine count indictment that included money laundering conspiracy, wire fraud, and violation of IEEPA sanctions.
The Appellant asserted that there were a number of evidentiary errors committed by the trial judge. He claimed that the admission of the contents of the laptop computer, seized from Viktor Bout when he was arrested in Thailand, was error, due to an alleged break in the chain of custody. He also stated that the Court's decision, to deny him the right to call a DEA agent, violated Due Process, and that it was error for it to admit certain Powerpoint presentations, during the trial.
The Court, which was composed of a three-judge panel, held "We have considered all of Chichakli's arguments, contained in both his counseled brief, and his supplemental pro se briefs, and conclude that they are without merit. We therefore AFFIRM the judgment of the District Court. " Supplemental Brief at 6.
A figure of great media interest in the past, due to his association with Viktor Bout, Richard Chichakli. a Syrian-American CPA, came from a powerful family in his native country. He had served in the US Military, and reportedly operated Viktor Bout's UAE Sharjah aviation enterprise, which often ran arms to both sides in Africa's numerous civil wars. Court observers anticipated that Chichakli would make use of his prior relationship with the American intelligence community, to embarrass the US Government, but none of that confidential (and classified) information came out at his trial. Chichakli was arrested in Australia, when he sought to obtain a law enforcement position, using an alias.
Richard Chichakli has a presumptive release date of June 11, 2017; he is incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center Devens, in Massachusetts. He has, pro se, sought a rehearing, or in the alternative, a rehearing en banc, of the Second Circuit decision, and that matter remains pending.
Case No.: 14-4255-cr (2nd Cir. 2016).
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