Viktor Bout Biography: Wife, Age, Net Worth, Height, Family, The Merchant of Death

Posted By Johnson Ajiboye

Viktor Bout is a notorious Russian arms dealer who has been dubbed the “Merchant of Death” for his role in supplying weapons to various rebel groups, warlords, and regimes around the world.

He has been accused of fueling conflicts in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and of plotting to kill Americans and aid a terrorist organization.

He was arrested in Thailand in 2008 in a sting operation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and extradited to the U.S. in 2010, where he was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

He was released in 2022 and returned to Russia in a prisoner swap deal with the U.S.


  • Full name: Viktor Anatolyevich Bout
  • Nickname: The Merchant of Death
  • Date of birth: January 13, 1967
  • Age: 56 years old
  • Gender: Male
  • Place of birth: Dushanbe, Tajikistan
  • Nationality: Russian
  • Profession: Arms dealer, businessman, former military officer
  • Height: 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
  • Parents: Anatoly Bout (father), Raisa Bout (mother)
  • Siblings: Sergei Bout (brother)
  • Spouse: Alla Bout (m. in 1995)
  • Children: 2
  • Relationship status: Married
  • Net worth: $8 million

Early Life & Education

Viktor Bout, at the age of 56, was born on January 13, 1967, in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, which was then part of the Soviet Union.

He was the eldest of two sons of Anatoly Bout, a civil engineer, and Raisa Bout, a teacher. He has one brother named Sergei.

He grew up in a middle-class family and attended a Russian-language school. From an early age, he was interested in aviation and mathematics and excelled in his studies.

He also learned several languages, including English, French, Portuguese, Arabic, and Swahili.

He joined the Soviet Army in 1985 and served as a translator and an air traffic controller. He graduated from the Military Institute of Foreign Languages in Moscow in 1991 and became a lieutenant in the Soviet Air Force.

He was stationed in Angola, where he witnessed the civil war and the involvement of foreign mercenaries and arms dealers. He also served in Germany and Uganda before leaving the military in 1993.

Personal Life

Viktor Bout met his wife, Alla Bout, in Moscow in 1994. She was a former model and a student of economics. They married in 1995 and had two daughters, Elizabeth and Lisa.

They lived in various countries, including Belgium, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, and Thailand, where they owned several properties and businesses.

They also traveled frequently to Russia, where they had relatives and friends. Bout was known to be a devoted husband and father who enjoyed spending time with his family. He also liked to play chess, read books, and listen to music.

His arms-dealing activities and legal troubles affected Bout’s personal life. He was constantly under surveillance and threat from various intelligence agencies and rival groups.

He was also targeted by several assassination attempts, which he survived. He was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and spent two years in a Thai prison before being extradited to the U.S. in 2010.

He was separated from his wife and daughters, who remained in Thailand and later moved to Moscow. He was able to communicate with them through phone calls and letters. He was released in 2022 and reunited with his family in Russia.


Viktor Bout started his career as an arms dealer in the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He took advantage of the chaos, surplus weapons, and aircraft availability in the former Soviet states.

He established a network of companies and contacts, enabling him to acquire, transport, and sell arms to various clients worldwide.

He operated under different aliases and used forged documents and shell companies to evade detection and sanctions.

He also bribed and collaborated with corrupt officials and intermediaries to facilitate his deals. Bout’s clients included rebel groups, warlords, and regimes involved in conflicts or under international embargo.

Some of his notable customers were the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone, the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Liberia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe.

He also supplied arms to the Colombian Marxist rebel group known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which was designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and other countries.

Several journalists, activists, and authorities exposed and investigated Bout’s arms-dealing activities. He was the subject of a book by Douglas Farah and Stephen Braun titled Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible and a documentary film by Johan Grimonprez titled The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade.

He was also the inspiration for the fictional character of Yuri Orlov, played by Nicolas Cage, in the 2005 film Lord of War.

Bout was arrested in Thailand in 2008 in a sting operation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which posed as FARC representatives and offered to buy weapons from him.

He was charged with conspiring to kill Americans, conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization, conspiring to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles, and money laundering.

He denied the charges and claimed he was a legitimate businessman and a victim of a political conspiracy.

He fought extradition to the U.S. for two years but was eventually handed over to the U.S. authorities in 2010. He was tried in a federal court in New York and found guilty in 2011. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2012.

He appealed his conviction and sentence but was unsuccessful. He was incarcerated in a high-security prison in Marion, Illinois, until his release in 2022. Bout was released in 2022 as part of a prisoner swap deal between the U.S. and Russia, which also involved the release of an American basketball player, Brittney Griner, who was detained in Russia for possession of cannabis oil.

Bout was flown to Moscow, where his family and supporters welcomed him. Russian officials also greeted and praised him as a patriot and a hero.

He expressed gratitude to the Russian government and his loyalty to President Vladimir Putin. He also vowed to continue his fight against the U.S. and its allies.


Viktor Bout has been involved in controversies and scandals throughout his career and life.

He has been accused of being one of the world’s most notorious and dangerous arms dealers, who has supplied weapons to some of the worst human rights violators and terrorists.

Net Worth

According to some sources, Viktor Bout’s net worth is around $8 million. However, his wealth is difficult to determine, as he has used various aliases and shell companies to hide his assets and transactions.

He has also faced several lawsuits and sanctions that have frozen or seized his funds and properties. He has owned several aircraft, vehicles, and properties in different countries, but some have been confiscated or destroyed by the authorities.

Social Media

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