SA 'Merchant of Death' witness jailed

2012-05-24 09:11
New York - A South African man who became the star witness at the trial of a notorious Russian arms dealer has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Andrew Smulian had pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges that carried a potentially lengthy prison term.

But a Manhattan judge imposed the lighter sentence on Wednesday after prosecutors credited him with helping win a conviction against Victor Bout.

The 71-year-old Smulian told the judge that he regretted ever joining an arms scheme that turned out to be an elaborate DEA sting.

Bout was once known as the Merchant of Death for supplying arms to combat zones around the world. He was convicted last year of selling weaponry to South American rebels and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

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