Published: Tue, January 08, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Russian Federation wants info on citizen held in US

Russian Federation wants info on citizen held in US

The ambassador said Washington complained to the Russian government about the length of time it took to grant consular access to Whelan after his arrest.

At the time, he was identified only as an American but officials say Whelan also has British citizenship.

Russian authorities have released no information about the charges against Whelan, who could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of spying.

The foreign secretary's remarks support the premise of speculation in the United States that Mr Whelan's arrest is a strategic move by Moscow.

A USA court in Miami indicted Makarenko in June 2017 on charges of conspiracy to export defense items without a license, attempting to export such items, and money laundering, according to documents on the electronic filing site.

The arrest was just one day after Russian Federation detained ex-US marine Paul Whelan on suspicion of "spying in Moscow".

Whelan testified in a 2013 deposition in a federal court case involving Kelly Services that he worked as senior manager of global security and investigations for the company.

The foreign ministry comments follow revelations about Mr Whelan's past.

Russian President Vladimir Putin refuted British claims the Kremlin was behind the nerve agent poisonings in Salisbury past year.

The U.S. citizen charged with espionage and held in a Russian prison holds citizenship in three other nations, putting additional pressure on the Kremlin.

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The detention came two weeks after Maria Butina, a Russian gun enthusiast, pleaded guilty in the conspiring to act as an unregistered foreign agent.

Early the following year, Whelan joined auto parts supplier BorgWarner as global security director. "He is many things to many people, but he is not a spy", David Whelan wrote.

"Paul is a kind and considerate brother, son and uncle, and a generous and loyal friend".

Papers filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida show Makarenko was accused in June 2017 by federal prosecutors of conspiring with another man, Vladimir Nevidomy, to export defense articles including night-vision scopes from the United States to Russian Federation without U.S. approval. Various news sources report that Paul Whelan was arrested on spying charges. I think that's what they're doing here.

"The family's focus is getting Paul home and whatever means we can use to do that I would support", he said in a phone interview from Toronto.

The retired Marine arrested in Russian Federation on espionage charges would have been home Sunday, his brother said.

A Foreign Office spokesman in London said: "Our staff have requested consular access to a British man detained in Russian Federation after receiving a request for assistance from him".

He said his twin brother had been taking Americans associated with the wedding party on a tour around Red Square museums shortly before disappearing.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this week that Washington had asked Moscow to explain Whelan's arrest and would demand his immediate return if it determined his detention was inappropriate.

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