Former US Marine Held in Russia on Spy Charges Seeks Bail

Lester Mason
January 12, 2019

A lawyer acting for a Canadian-born former USA marine detained in Russia on espionage charges has filed an appeal with a Moscow court seeking to have his client released on bail, Russian news agencies cited the court as saying on Thursday.

Paul Whelan is pictured in this undated photo released by his family. "The date of consideration has not been fixed", said Yekaterina Krasnova, a spokeswoman for the court. If found guilty by the Russian court, Whelan could face up to 20 years in prison.

A former US Marine who now works as head of security for a MI auto parts company, Mr Whelan holds US, British, Canadian and Irish passports as a result of his family's emigration.

Whelan's lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenkov, said on January 3 that he filed a complaint with the Lefortovo court because the detention without bail is "excessive and unwarranted". According to family, he was in Russian Federation for a wedding and is a regular world traveler.

"You look at what's going on and you wonder if this is just a large game of pieces being moved around", Whelan's twin brother, David Whelan, told The Associated Press on Saturday, adding that the family was focused on just getting his brother home.

Whelan's family says the reservist, who served two tours in Iraq in 2004 and 2006, was in Russia to attend the wedding of a fellow former U.S. service member and a Russian woman. USA intelligence and State Department sources have told CBS News they're confident Whelan is not a spy.

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.

Whelan, a MI resident, has had a career in corporate security, his brother said, including at automotive components supplier BorgWarner since 2017.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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