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Former marine 'had secret Russian files on USB drive'

A former US marine held in Moscow on suspicion of spying used to be discovered with categorized Russian fabrics when he used to be arrested, his attorney has mentioned.

Paul Whelan, 48, used to be detained at a resort within the town on 28 December “whilst wearing out an act of espionage”, consistent with Russia’s FSB safety provider.

On Tuesday, Moscow pass judgement on Dmitry Pronyakin rejected a request for him to be freed on bail.

Mr Whelan is a former US marine born in Canada to British oldsters, who now lives in Michigan

Forward of the listening to, his attorney, Vladimir Zherebenkov, mentioned Mr Whelan used to be passed a USB pressure he believed contained cultural data moments earlier than his arrest.

Mr Whelan appeared in court in a glass cell
Mr Whelan used to be denied bail and may withstand 20 years in prison if convicted

He mentioned his consumer didn’t give you the chance to open the software to test the contents, which grew to become out to comprise secret recordsdata.

Mr Zherebenkov mentioned that he didn’t understand how Mr Whelan were given hang of the ones fabrics or what he used to be going to do with them.

“Paul used to be in reality supposed to obtain data from a person that used to be now not categorized,” he mentioned.

Vladimir Zherebenkov says his client Paul Whelan was handed a USB device before his arrest
Vladimir Zherebenkov says his consumer used to be passed a USB software earlier than his arrest

“Those had been cultural issues, a go back and forth to a cathedral, Paul’s vacation… pictures. However because it grew to become out, it contained
categorized data.”

He mentioned there may well be no communicate of a prisoner trade till an ordeal used to be finished and that “most of the time persons are stored in custody” in Russia.

“I noticed him closing week… he feels neatly, he has a way of dignity,” the attorney added.

Paul Whelan is a former marine, who lives in Michigan
Paul Whelan is a former marine who lives in Michigan

The 48-year-old’s arrest raised hypothesis he may well be swapped for one of the most Russians held in the United States, reminiscent of gun rights activist Maria Butina.

Butina used to be convicted of being a “overseas agent” in the United States closing month.

Moscow has rejected the theory, announcing it does now not deal with other folks as “pawns” in diplomatic video games.

A spokeswoman for the United States embassy in Moscow advised Russian media it used to be “intently following” the case.

We “proceed to induce Russia to practice global legislation and supply a snappy, honest and clear trial”, Andrea Kalan mentioned.

America ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, paid a consult with to Mr Whelan at Moscow’s Lefortovo jail.

Mr Whelan’s circle of relatives mentioned he used to be in Moscow for a chum’s wedding ceremony and US safety professionals have raised doubts over whether or not he used to be a secret agent.

He additionally holds British, Irish and Canadian passports however his circle of relatives mentioned in a remark that the United Kingdom and Canadian governments were denied consular get right of entry to.

Spying fees raise a jail sentence of as much as 20 years in Russia.

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