Brother Of American Detained In Russia Wonders If He's Political Pawn

Clay Curtis
January 7, 2019

That date would have put it one day after Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan in Moscow on spying charges.

Former US marine Paul Whelan has been detained in a Moscow prison since December 28.

The U.S. ambassador to Russian Federation has had a chance to speak with the MI man arrested and detained in Moscow.

"As for his global connections, our family spans continents, and Paul's four passports reflect his birth (Canada), parents (Britain), grandparents (Ireland) and choice (United States)", David Whelan wrote in an Op-Ed in The Washington Post.

Whelan has been visiting Russian Federation since at least 2007, when he took advantage of a military program for Marines deployed in Iraq that gave them 15 days of leave and paid for the travel.

American Paul Whelan, arrested in Moscow and accused of espionage, has in addition to his American passport one from Britain, Canada and Ireland, Whelan's brother said Friday.

Whelan, 48, could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of spying.

He added: "In the short-term the thing we would appreciate most from the United Kingdom government and are certain that it's going to happen - we're not questioning any will on their part after Mr Hunt's statement - is that they will keep an eye on Paul and assist the maintain him in good health until we can get him home".

David Whelan, his twin brother from Toronto, said that the allegations were "completely false".

He is a citizen of four countries - the United States, the UK, Canada, and the Irish Republic.

But Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Saturday: "I see no reasons to raise this issue in the context of exchanges". He said Whelan gave him his home address and they exchanged Christmas cards.

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The woman, who has remained nameless, was a victim of a near-drowning accident "at least a decade ago". It was easy for police to assume the patient was raped and impregnated during her vulnerable state.

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 is inappropriate.

David Whelan said he had been unaware of his brother's interest in Russian Federation.

Whelan's brother said it would not be surprising to find Russian soldiers among his contacts.

Former CIA officers also have expressed doubts that Whelan was working for US intelligence.

Mr Whelan joined the Marine Reserves in 1994 and rose to the rank of staff sergeant in 2004.

He was later discharged from the Marines on larceny charges, including trying to steal more than 10,000 Dollars worth of currency from the United States government during his second tour in Iraq, and writing almost 6,000 USD worth of bad checks, according to the Washington Post.

Nance said he suspects Russian intelligence officers have been watching Whelan for years, wondering if they could use him in some way and maybe trying to flip him.

Whelan's Marine record also would likely prevent USA intelligence from hiring him.

Some observers believe his arrest was in retaliation for last year's arrest in the U.S. of a Russian woman called Maria Butina. His arrest has led to speculation that Russia could be using him to bargain for a Russian woman who has pleaded guilty to acting as a foreign agent in the U.S.

Whelan is employed as head of security at the worldwide auto parts firm BorgWarner based in MI, a spokesperson for the company said.

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