Russian Lawyer For Novi Man Accused of Being A Spy Requests Bail

  • Russian Lawyer For Novi Man Accused of Being A Spy Requests Bail

Russian Lawyer For Novi Man Accused of Being A Spy Requests Bail

While there may be any number of motivations for Whelan's arrest, most attention has centered on the notion of a potential swap for the recently arrested Russian operative Maria Butina. The date of its consideration is not fixed yet, as the complaint needs to be translated into Whelan's native language.

Whelan's lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenkov, told ABC News that any trade in any case could only occur once Whelan has been convicted, which he said would likely take six months to a year.

Paul Whelan, who holds multiple citizenships, was detained by Russia's Federal Security Service on December 28.

Ambassador Huntsman met Whelan at the Lefortovo Detention Facility, and the prisoner's family thanked him for staying in "regular contact" with Whelan and assuring his "rights will be respected".

Whelan's twin brother David wrote in an op-ed in Friday's Washington Post that his brother is not a spy. USA intelligence and State Department sources have told CBS News they're confident Whelan is not a spy. The source added that Whelan entered Russian Federation on his U.S. passport and that it remained unclear what exactly he might have been trying to do on his own in Russian Federation.

While the Russian government has given very little information publicly on the American's detention, the country's media outlets cited investigators last week as saying Whelan was caught "red-handed" after receiving "state secrets" from an unidentified Russian national. When he was in the military in 2006, he used his two weeks' leave to visit Russian Federation.

Media reports have speculated that Whelan was detained to facilitate a possible spy swap with a Russian agent arrested overseas, possibly Marina Butina, a gun-rights campaigner who has pleaded guilty in a USA court to acting as an agent for the Kremlin and has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Since 2017, Whelan has worked for a Michigan-based auto parts company called BorgWarner, most recently as director of global security. The company confirmed his employment but noted that BorgWarner has no facilities in Russian Federation.