HC Deb 26 May 2004 vol 421 cc1640-1W
Mr. Ancram

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will support the freezing of assets owned by Mr. Victor Bout; and if he will make a statement on the reasons for the UK removing Mr. Bout's name from a list of individuals to be targeted by United Nations sanctions. [175566]

Mr. Straw

[holding answer 25 May 2004]: The UK has consistently supported international efforts to end Victor Bout's illegal activities, and UK Ministers have publicly welcomed action taken against his sanctions-busting activities. Our commitment to dealing with arms traffickers/sanctions busters is second to none, and a matter of public record.

I am unable to comment on specific nominations under discussion in the United Nations Security Council for the asset freeze imposed by UNSCR 1532. To do so would risk capital flight.

Tom Brake

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what investigations the Department has carried out intro the activities of Victor Bout. [174769]

Mr. Rammell

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not have investigative authority/powers. We pass any information we receive concerning alleged breaches of arms embargoes and sanctions regimes to the appropriate investigative authorities.

FCO Ministers have publicly stated our position on Victor Bout and his sanctions-busting activities. On 7 November 2000 my right hon. Friend the then Minister of State at the FCO said in the House that Victor Bout is "the chief sanctions buster, and is a merchant of death…" Official Report, column 156. On 2 May 2002, my hon. Friend the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the FCO said in the House, "I hope that … increased international pressure on Bout will finally result in the end of his sanctions-busting activities and that he will be brought to justice. The UK has played a leading role in drawing international attention to Bout's illegal activities…" Official Report, column 929W.

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