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Paul Whelan, US accused of espionage in Russia, found with evidence constituting state secrets



Whelan, 48, was arrested in Moscow on December 28, when he suspected of performing espionage, Russia's federal security service (FSB) has said. He was found with evidence that constituted state secrets when he was detained, his lawyer Vladimir Zherebenkov told CNN.

Whelan's family says he was only in the country for a vacation.

Whelan arrived in Russia on December 22 to attend a retired pine Mary's wedding, his brother David Whelan told CNN. The day of his arrest, he had been with the wedding party in the Kremlin, which served as a guide to wedding guests who visited Russia for the first time, his brother said. Later in the day, he did not arrive at the wedding, and the newlyweds filed a missing personal report with the Russian authorities.

FSB, Russia's domestic intelligence agency, announced Whelan's arrest the following Monday. His family rejects the accusation that he was a spy.

  US citizens Paul Whelan, accused of espionage in Russia, appeals

Since his arrest Whelan has been held without a security deposit in Moscow's Lefortovo prison. He was expected in court on Tuesday for a trial. Vladimir Zherebenkov, Whelan's lawyer in Russia, said he filed a complaint about the detention in early January and called it unjustified and excessive.

Zherebenkov said the prison treated Whelan well, and he had a good mood and felt good.

Whelan's hearing is held in the Moscow City Court. If he was found guilty, Whelan reported up to 20 years in prison, reported Russia's state science agency TASS.

A representative of the US Embassy will participate in public parts of the hearing, said David Whelan.

US citizen, retired marine security director

Whelan is the global security director of the Michigan-based automaker manufacturer BorgWarner. He began working for the company in 2017 and has been responsible for the physical securities of BorgWarner's facilities that the company has said.

  It's too early to discuss a prison exchange & # 39; for American Paul Whelan, Russian Minister

Prior to this, Whelan was senior manager of Kelly Services, a global office staff company until 2016.

He earned 14 years in the US Marine Corps Reserve and completed two Iraq tours in 2004 and 2006. In 2008, he was dismissed for bad behavior.

Whelan was convicted by a special court battle for a trial of larceny, according to military legal documents. The conviction says he was trying to steal $ 10,410 in his time in Iraq.

His ties to Russia

A 2007 Marine Corps article says Whelan spent his military law in 2006 to visit Russia, "experiencing the post-Soviet era of Moscow and St. Petersburg."

  Paul Whelan spent his military leave in Moscow in 2006, according to an article published on the United States Marine Corps website and this accompanying image.

His last status update reads "next stop, Moscow …"

The day he was arrested, Whelan's page shows someone logged into his profile under his name.

Russian source says he had classified information

An unidentified source told Russian news site Rosbalt that Whelan was arrested in his hotel room with a flash drive with classified information. The news site said its source was in Russian specialty services.

CNN has not independently confirmed that these are the official Russian claims against Whelan.

The source told Rosbalt that Whelan had allegedly met a Russian citizen he had previously attempted to hire as an agent to obtain information about Russian intelligence staff. He allegedly received an electronic device with a list of employees in a classified department shortly before being arrested, Rosbalt reported.

CNN's Mary Ilyushina, Amanda Watts, Zach Cohen, Michelle Kosinski, Nathan Hodge, Simon Cullen, Chuck Johnston, Jennifer Hansler, Paula Newton, Emanuella Grinberg, Danelle Garcia, Matthew Chance and Zahra Ullah contributed to this report.


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