Viktor Bout’s lawyers confident of exchange for Brittney Griner

Viktor Bout‘s lawyers said on Monday that they are “confident” about talks between Russia and the United States on a possible prisoner exchange.

The trade would be for WNBA star Brittney Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan, according to reports.

“I’m confident it’s going to happen. Look, there are no secrets, they’ve been waiting for him (Viktor) for several years,” Steve Zissou, Bout’s lawyer, told CNN.

“They’ve been trying to get him back (to Russia) for decades. It’s not something they’ve kept secret.”

The same network reports that Vadim Krasikov, a former Russian spy and now death row convict, was added to the Kremlin’s request this weekend.

The same lawyer emphasises that the exchange of people only includes Griner and Whelan for Bout, but that the description of his client as an “internationally known arms dealer” stops the operation.

“I didn’t know that had happened. I know a lot of things are being said out there,” he added.

“The thing you have to understand about these negotiations is that there will always be names to put on the table, which can also be taken off the table: who they want and who I want. It’s part of any prisoner negotiation.

“By the time the US government booked Viktor Bout in 2005 and 2006, he was already retired, living in Moscow and no longer transporting weapons as a business.

“He was trafficking a lot of things. In fact, he was transporting for the US government, as a matter of fact, in 2000.”