Four citizenship and the page “Vkontakte”. What is known about Paul Whelan, who is in Russia suspected of spying
Paul Whelan was detained under the New year — “when conducting the espionage action,” according to representatives of FSB. On the identity of the detainee in the security services didn’t say anything. The correspondent of RTVI Sergey Morozov talked to several friends Paul Whelan and tried to figure out what a former U.S. marine with four nationalities did in Russia.
Paul Whelan is not only a citizen of the United States, Canada, the UK and Ireland, but also a patriot of Russia. If the spy needs to be inconspicuous, then this isn’t the case. “Let Russia takes Alaska, if you take along Sarah Palin, defender of the Fatherland day!” — this was written by Paul Whelan on his page Vkontakte: of all the social networks to communicate, he chose the one where servers are not located in the United States.
“He sent your photos, call your US address, do spies do it?” — today ask his friends in Russia.
RTVI managed to talk with five friends Whelan in the social network; on condition of anonymity, they said that Paul wound up Dating himself wrote the cadets of military schools that want to learn Russian, and he can teach them English. Did he secrets? But his friends and had no access to secrets. “You still following the KGB?” — jokingly wrote a friend before the arrest. Paul laughed.
The next day at the hotel “Metropol” he was detained by the FSB. During the search he found a flash drive with the names of the members of the secret office; Whelan accused of espionage. Why a flash drive? Who brought it here? On the website of the Moscow city court there is no evidence that someone else was arrested for treason.
According to the lawyer of Vladimir Zherebenkov in the SIZO “Lefortovo” Whelan is feeling cheerful and confident, although did not even speak Russian and communicate through an interpreter.
“Surprisingly, no depression, I did not notice. Quite confidently behaves correctly. Even with a certain degree of humor,” said RTVI Foal. .
That Paul Whelan is no spy, said his twin brother David. From the explanation David, it follows that the family quite knew little about the Field: “We didn’t discuss work. Why was he interested in Russia — I don’t know”.
What do we know about him? Lived in Michigan until 2016 worked at the recruiting Agency Kelly Services, which, incidentally, recommended that people in the organizing Committee of the Sochi Olympics (this news made a lot of noise in Russia). Something about his work, Whelan said at a court hearing in the United States, where he acted as a witness: “I run the investigations. I run a staff. I handle purchases of electronics programs.”
In fact, he was investigating theft in a company, Smoking in the wrong places, sexual harassment, nothing dramatic. From 2003 to 2008 Whelan served as a marine in Iraq, after which he was fired from there because of inappropriate behavior and theft. Before that Whelan was working in the police. Recently a picture of Paul appeared in the journal of the company Whelan Security, but he said that no family ties with the leadership of this company had not. Whelan also was connected with a shop selling firearms in the United States. His last place of work — the firm BorgWarner, which state that Whelan was in Moscow on his private Affairs.
We managed to find the old page Paul Whelan in the Internet since the days when he began to be interested in Russia. In 2011, the year she was removed, together with almost all photos, but the archive remains accessible version. “Russian adventure Pavlik” writes about their Gender. He says that he saw Moscow and St. Petersburg, met with a hospitable Russian, looked at the Lubyanka building, and borrowed for the collection of a piece of paving stone from the red square and the Cup holder. Why are we sure that is his page? Because it preserved its old photo with the dogs.
Former CIA officials now say that with such a record and such a legend no one would have placed a spy in Moscow to gather information a low value.
The version that Whelan was arrested to be exchanged for Mary Butina, appeared immediately, but so far no one except journalists, speaks on the exchange. Whelan could face up to 20 years in prison for espionage.