Russian arms dealer arrested in Thailand

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer dubbed the “Merchant of Death”, was arrested in Thailand on Thursday and accused of seeking to buy weapons for Colombian rebels, Thai police said.

Bout, the target of an international arrest warrant and U.S. sanctions, was picked up at a Bangkok hotel after he entered Thailand on February 29. Police were searching for an associate.

Bout was attempting “to procure weapons for Colombia’s FARC rebels”, the Thai police said in an arrest report.

The leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, is fighting a four-decade old insurgency against the Bogota government.

The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Bout in October 2006, seizing his fleet of cargo jets and froze other assets.

Reporting by Nopporn Wong-Anan, Editing by Darren Schuettler and Alex Richardson