Russian Federation formally charges metro Detroit man, Paul Whelan, with espionage

Russian Federation formally charges metro Detroit man, Paul Whelan, with espionage

American citizen Paul Whelan has been formally charged with espionage in Russian Federation, his lawyer said Thursday.

The Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB, has said MI resident Paul Whelan, a 48-year-old corporate security director from the Detroit area, was arrested Friday on espionage charges.

The FSB opened a criminal case against Whelan but gave no details of his alleged espionage activities.

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

"We are deeply concerned for his safety and well-being", the family said. "His innocence is undoubted and we trust that his rights will be respected", David Whelan tweeted.

"Paul flew into Moscow on the 22nd of December to be part of that wedding party", his brother David Whelan said.

Secretary of State Pompeo was asked by reporters on Tuesday if he believed Russian Federation had taken Whelan in retaliation for Butina's detention. The Kremlin has not since published any details on other Americans now in Russian detention. A friend who had served in the US Marine Corps with Paul was planning a wedding in Moscow and he was asked to go along to help out.

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The silence "was very much out of character for him even when he was traveling", the family said of Paul Whelan in the statement. Whelan's condition and mood are good, however, according to his lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenkov, and the prison where he's being kept has treated him well. "We are asking for bail instead".

The Detroit Free Press elaborated that Whelan was "convicted at a special court-martial in January 2008 on several charges related to larceny and was given a bad-conduct discharge in December 2008 at the rank of private".

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

Paul Whelan was arrested in Moscow on Friday.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Jr. met with Whelan at Lefortovo Prison the same day.

Under Russian law, espionage can carry a sentence of between 10 and 20 years in prison. Prosecutors said she tried to build a back channel between Kremlin officials and Republican operatives during the 2016 presidential campaign.

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