In recent months, Jesse Hyde's written a considerable amount about Richard Chichakli -- who, in August, Jesse called "the mysterious accountant who spent 19 years in Richardson but is now living in exile because of his alleged connections to Viktor Bout, the world’s most notorious gunrunner." Chichakli has always claimed he's innocent -- says so right there on his Web site, where he claims he was "wrongfully persecuted and placed in exile by the U.S. Government." And we thought there'd be nothing new to say about Chicakli -- only, Bout got popped in Thailand yesterday during a sting operation, after which he was charged in the States with "conspiracy for trying to smuggle missiles and rocket launchers to rebels in Colombia," as The New York Times reports this morning.
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And, sure, enough, in that Times story, there's Chichakli -- and, once more, he's denying that Bout's a bad guy. Or, as bad a guy as the government says he is. “Things snowball when they start talking about him,” he told the paper over the phone. “There are certain parts that are true. But the way they portray the man, it has nothing to do with reality. Out of a fish they make a blue whale.” He's defended Bout before -- most notably, in this book called Merchant of Death. Still, dunno how loudly you want to stick up for the Lord of War. --Robert Wilonsky