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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 March 2008, 06:58 GMT
Bail denied for arms suspect Bout
Viktor Bout
Viktor Bout was arrested in a Bangkok luxury hotel last week
A Thai court has denied bail to suspected top international arms dealer Viktor Bout, saying it feared he could leave the country.

Mr Bout, a 41-year-old Russian, was arrested last week in Bangkok after a months-long sting operation involving US and Thai police.

He is accused of conspiring to sell missiles to members of a Colombian rebel group.

A lawyer for Mr Bout said he would appeal against the decision.

Rebel group

Mr Bout, who denies any wrongdoing, did not attend the hearing. He is currently being held in a Bangkok jail.

"The suspect is accused of being involved in international terrorism," a court statement said.

"This is a serious case and he may leave the country, so the court is not allowing the bail for the suspect."

Lak Nitiwatvichan, a Thai lawyer representing Mr Bout, said he would file another submission for bail.

Mr Bout has gained a reputation of mythic proportions for his alleged role in the illegal global arms trade.

He has been dubbed the "merchant of death" for allegedly supplying warring parties in Angola and Sierra Leone, and is believed to have inspired Nicolas Cage's character in the 2005 film Lord of War.

The US placed sanctions on Mr Bout in 2006, seizing his fleet of cargo planes and freezing many of his assets, but thus far he has never faced prosecution.

His arrest in Bangkok came after agents from the US Drug Enforcement Agency posed as arms-seeking rebels from the Colombian Farc group - designated a terrorist group by the US.

The US has said it will seek Mr Bout's extradition.

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