Paul Whelan, American Accused of Spying, is Said to Be Charged in Russia


Russian investigative agencies on Thursday indicted Whelan, a 48-year-old former U.S. Marine, on charges of spying, Interfax cited an informed source as saying. From a report: Mr. Whelan's lawyer, Vladimir A. Zherebenkov, who said he spent much of Wednesday with Mr. Whelan, said he had found his client in an upbeat mood despite the long legal road that he faces. "I was surprised to see him being so confident," said Mr. Zherebenkov, a high-profile criminal defense lawyer. Mr. Whelan, 48, the head of global security for the Michigan auto parts maker BorgWarner and a Marine Corps veteran, was arrested last Friday and is being held in solitary confinement in Moscow's notorious Lefortovo Prison. Russia's domestic security agency, the F.S.B., issued a brief statement on Monday saying that Mr. Whelan had been caught in "an act of espionage" but provided no other details. Mr. Zherebenkov said that he had not seen all the evidence, but that he suspected that the American had been under surveillance for some time. "I presume that he is innocent, because for now I haven't seen any evidence against him that would prove otherwise," said Mr. Zherebenkov, who said that Mr. Whelan would petition the court for bail. Rosbalt, a Russian news agency close to the security services, quoted an unidentified intelligence source on Wednesday as saying that Mr. Whelan had been apprehended during a meeting with a Russian citizen in his room at the Metropol Hotel in Moscow. He is accused of trying to recruit this person to obtain classified information about staff members at various Russian agencies, the account said. Mr. Whelan was arrested five minutes after receiving a USB stick containing a list of all the employees at a classified security agency, the report said.

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