Yesterday we reported that on Monday, a U.S. District Judge David Godbey dismissed the claims of a former Richardson resident who says his constitutional rights were violated when federal agents stormed his home and office in April 2005 and froze his assets. This morning, we get word from the man in question, Richard Chichakli, who is living in exile in Moscow.
The government maintains Chichakli was an accountant to Viktor Bout, who is allegedly the world’s most notorious gun-runner and is known as the “Merchant of Death.” Chichakli says there is no merit to the allegations and that journalists who say otherwise (including Douglas Farah, who we quoted yesterday) are simply exaggerating the truth to make a buck. Chichakli’s response to yesterday’s court ruling after the jump. --Jesse Hyde
“The ruling was expected, and it was ready since early March when the court refused to admit the testimony of Deidre Ward, the former CEO of Bout’s companies in South Africa, and the testimony of Nathalie Piret Bout’s counsel and financial advisor who both testified that Chichakli was not an employee of Bout nor were they aware of him working in Bout’s organization.
Ward’s testimony which was obtained by FBI in South Africa became very critical to the government’s case, given Ward’s senior position in Victor’s organization and it was immediately classified. ALL the documents filed by the government in support of their case were made available to the public by Chichakli and they are still available for download, of course with the exception to the "Secret Evidence" which I have no access to except the DOJ letter providing for such and which appears on the main page of this web site.
As to what you stated in your blog about having all the evidence “laid out and public” that would be an incorrect statement on your side, and nothing more than repeating what Farah is saying in order to avoid hurting the sale of his expected “novel” about Victor Bout. The US government STATED IN WRITING that they were relying on secret evidence in my case as you can see in the DOJ letter posted on the main page of my web site, and of which I included a copy herewith. The Treasury also used the so-called “Secret Evidence” as stated in OFAC Statement to the Court which was also posted on my web site. So do you think the US Government was joking with the Court or maybe this Douglas Farah is making up a story to give himself some credibility so he wouldn’t look like a fool?”
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.