Share

Brother: American arrested in Russia as a spy is innocent

Share

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Russian government allowed an American citizen held on espionage charges to have access Wednesday to U.S. officials seeking answers about his arrest.

U.S. consular officials were granted access to Michigan resident Paul Whelan for the first time since his arrest during a visit to the country, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

Whelan, head of global security for a Michigan-based auto parts supplier, was arrested Friday. In announcing the arrest three days later, the Russian Federal Security Service said Whelan was caught “during an espionage operation,” but gave no details.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier Wednesday, while in Brazil, that the U.S. hoped to gain access soon to the former Marine and that “if the detention is not appropriate, we will demand his immediate return.”

Whelan, 48, was in Moscow to attend a wedding when he disappeared, his brother, David Whelan, said Tuesday. He arrived Dec. 22 and was scheduled to stay through Sunday.

Trending:
The Biden Administration's Attempt to Immediately Shut Down Texas Abortion Law Just Crashed and Burned

Pompeo said the Trump administration has “made clear to the Russians our expectation that we will learn more about the charges and come to understand what it is he’s been accused of.”

Whelan’s family, in a statement that David Whelan posted on Twitter, said: “We are deeply concerned for his safety and well-being. His innocence is undoubted and we trust that his rights will be respected.”

The Russian spying charges carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

The Marine Corps on Wednesday released details of Whelan’s service record. He served in the Marine Corps Reserves from 1994 to 2008 and was convicted of larceny in a special court-martial in January 2008. The Marine Corps did not immediately provide details of the court-martial conviction beyond saying it was based on “several charges related to larceny.”

Whelan attained the rank of staff sergeant in December 2004 after the first of two deployments in Iraq. He was an administrative clerk and administrative chief. He was given a bad-conduct discharge in December 2008 at the rank of private. His last place of duty was at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California.

David Whelan said in an interview that his brother had been to Russia several times previously, so when a fellow former Marine was planning a wedding in Moscow, he was asked to go along to help out.

David Whelan said that it was while searching the internet on Monday that he learned of his brother’s arrest.

“I was looking for any stories about dead Americans in Moscow, so in a way it was better than finding out that he had died,” he said.

David Whelan said he has no idea why his brother was targeted by the Russian security services. Paul Whelan had traveled to Russia in the past for work and to visit friends he had met on social networks, his brother said.

Related:
Democratic Mayor in Texas Is Calling on Biden to Do Something About the Border Crisis

“I don’t think there’s any chance that he’s a spy,” David Whelan told CNN.

Paul Whelan lives in Novi, Michigan, and is director of global security for BorgWarner, where he has worked since early 2017.

“He is responsible for overseeing security at our facilities in Auburn Hills, Michigan and at other company locations around the world,” company spokeswoman Kathy Graham said in a statement.

She said BorgWarner does not have any facilities in Russia.

Paul Whelan previously worked for Kelly Services, which does maintain offices in Russia, his brother said.

___

Heintz contributed from Moscow. Associated Press writers Tom Krisher in Detroit and Robert Burns in Washington contributed to this report.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



loading

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
Share
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




loading

Conversation