Samar Air was a Tajik airline founded in 2004 by Victor Bout (the international arms dealer known as The Merchant of Death), and his associate Richard Chichakli, to conduct money laundering activities with U.S. aviation businesses, and to protect assets from international authorities.
In 2013, the Centre for Aviation (CAPA), listed Samar as one of five local airlines in Tajikistan: Asia Airways, East Air, Somon Air, Tajik Air and Samar Air.
- Jason Ryan (17 February 2010). "New Charges Against 'Merchant of Death' Viktor Bout". ABC News. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
The indictment alleges that in 2004 "Bout and Chichakli took steps to form new aviation and other companies, and took specific steps to register these companies in the name of other individuals….the defendants, created and registered Samar Airlines, which purported to be a commercial airline and a passenger and cargo aircraft charter service based in the Republic of Tajikistan."
- Chris Francescani (25 May 2013). "Associate of arms dealer Viktor Bout extradited to New York". Reuters. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
Bout and Chichakli subsequently created companies in the names of others to mask their involvement, including a company they formed called Samar Airlines, according to court documents.
- "Viktor Bout Associate Extradited To The United States". Drug Enforcement Administration. 28 May 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
One such company - Samar Airlines - was created in 2004, right after the majority of United Nations and IEEPA sanctions became effective. Chichakli and Bout were personally involved in the operational and business affairs and decisions of Samar Airlines, though they held out other individuals as being the officers of the company.
- "Tajik Air faces increasing pressure as Somon Air expands and new start-up enters the domestic market". Centre for Aviation (CAPA). 29 January 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
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