Sarkis Soghanalian obituary World’s largest private arms dealer for more than two decades

For a man who lived his life in the shadowy, secret world of arms deals and spooks, Sarkis Soghanalian, who has died aged 82, never stopped talking. About his deals, his connections. To government agents, prosecutors and journalists. In private, on television. Often to keep out or get out of jail. Most of what he said, while well informed, was self-serving; much of it was difficult to prove and some was hard to believe.

Over two decades, Soghanalian was the world’s largest private arms dealer – involved in LebanonNicaraguaAngola, the IranIraq war. A short, rotund figure, Soghanalian revelled in being described as “the merchant of death”.

“That name does not bother me a bit,” he explained.


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