BREAKING: Russia formally charges US Marine vet Paul Whelan with spying after he was ‘caught red-handed in Moscow hotel room with flash drive containing names of secret agents’

Thursday, January 3, 2019
By Paul Martin

US Marine veteran Paul Whelan has been indicted by Russia for alleged spying
Whelan was arrested on December 28 at the Metropol Hotel in Moscow
Russian media says he was detained because he received a database of employees of a ‘secret’ Russian agency
Whelan, 48, was in Moscow to attend a wedding when he disappeared
His family insists he is innocent and say they are ‘deeply concerned’ about him
Experts on the Kremlin have speculated that Whelan’s arrest was bogus, and an attempt to create leverage against America in the case of Russian Maria Butina
Butina recently pleaded guilty in the US to acting as an illegal foreign agent
Whelan’s Russian defense attorney has asked that he be released on bail

3 January 2019

Russian investigative agencies have indicted US Marine veteran Paul Whelan for spying, an informed source told Interfax on Thursday.

‘An indictment has been presented. Whelan dismisses it,’ the source said.

Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officials detained Whelan in Moscow on suspicion of spying on December 28.

‘The FSB’s Investigative Directorate opened a criminal case against the U.S. citizen under Russian Criminal Code Article 276 (espionage),’ the FSB told Interfax on December 31.

Whelan was detained by Vladimir Putin’s secret services because he received an electronic database with a list of ‘secret’ employees of a Russian agency, it was reported in Moscow.

The 48-year-old had fallen under suspicion on frequent visits to Russia because while saying he went to have ‘fun’ he shunned ‘pretty women’ and instead made contacts with males who might have access to confidential information.

Minutes after receiving a flash drive in his five-star hotel room in Moscow, armed Federal Security Service (FSB) operatives moved in and detained him, reported Rosbalt news service, which has close links to the security services.

Whelan’s Russian defense attorney has asked that he be released on bail.

‘The American received an electronic carrier in the room with a list of all employees of one of the secret Russian departments,’ said the first of several reports.

‘Five minutes after the transfer, FSB officers broke into the room and detained a suspect of espionage.

‘On examination, they found a flash card with secret information.’

State news agency RIA-Novosti quoted Russian defense lawyer Vladimir Zherebenkov on Thursday as saying he applied for Whelan to be released on bail set at an amount to be determined later.

Zherebenkov says Whelan is behaving ‘constructively and correctly’ in custody.

The lawyer said of his American client’s mood: ‘There is no depression.’

Paul Whelan’s twin brother David claimed that Paul had arrived in Moscow as he had been invited to a wedding.

The Whelans family have turned for help to the US Congress, the US embassy to Russia, and to the US Department of State, David Whelan said.

US ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman met with Whelan in Moscow on Wednesday.

Huntsman said he offered support and assistance to Paul Whelan, and later spoke to the man’s family by phone, but he would not discuss the case in detail.

The ambassador said the US complained to the Russian government about the length of time it took them to grant consular access to Whelan, who had been arrested five days prior.

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