Marines Release Details on American Held by Russians

US officials have been granted access to Paul Whelan
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 2, 2019 9:55 AM CST
Updated Jan 2, 2019 12:48 PM CST
Pompeo Discusses American Held in Moscow as 'Spy'
This undated photo provided by the Whelan family shows Paul Whelan in Iceland. Whelan, a former US Marine arrested in Russia on espionage charges, was visiting Moscow over the holidays to attend a wedding when he suddenly disappeared, his brother said Tuesday.   (Courtesy of the Whelan family via AP)

The Russian government said Wednesday it has allowed an American citizen held on espionage charges to have access to US officials seeking answers about his arrest. The AP reports US consular officials were granted access to Michigan resident and former Marine Paul Whelan for the first time since his arrest during a visit to the country, according to a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman quoted by the state news agency Tass. Whelan, head of global security for a Michigan-based auto parts supplier, was arrested Friday. In announcing the arrest three days later, the Russian Federal Security Service said Whelan was caught "during an espionage operation," but gave no details.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier Wednesday, while in Brazil, that "if the detention is not appropriate, we will demand his immediate return." Pompeo said the Trump administration has "made clear to the Russians our expectation that we will learn more about the charges and come to understand what it is he's been accused of." The Marine Corps on Wednesday released details of Whelan's service record. He served in the Marine Corps Reserves from 1994 to 2008 and was convicted of larceny in a special court-martial in January 2008. The Marine Corps did not immediately provide details of the court-martial conviction beyond saying it was based on "several charges related to larceny." (Read more on his service here.)

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