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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

In Interview, Bout Denies Links to Sechin

Suspected arms dealer Viktor Bout denied ties to Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin in an interview published Monday.

Analysts have linked Bout with Sechin, the powerful deputy to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and speculated that the relationship might be part of the reason that the United States wants to extradite Bout on arms charges.

Bout, who is jailed in Thailand, said he had never met Sechin and denied speculation that the two men served as Soviet intelligence officers in Mozambique at the same time in the 1980s, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported Monday.

Sechin officially worked in Mozambique and Angola as an interpreter with the Soviet embassies there in the 1980s. Stratfor, a private intelligence agency, has said Sechin was the Soviet Union's "point man for weapons smuggling to much of Latin America and the Middle East."

Bout also officially worked as an interpreter in Mozambique and Angola in the 1980s, according to Russian media reports.

While denying ties to Sechin, Bout acknowledged that he had carried out air shipments for the Russian state. "Sometimes, yeah. We did the flights," he was quoted as saying.

The interview with Bout will be broadcast on Britain's Channel 4 News on Tuesday.