Former US marine detained in Russian Federation charged with espionage, state media reports

U.S. ambassador Jon Huntsman meets with American held for spying in Russia

Russian prosecutors have charged an American ex-Marine detained in Moscow last week with espionage, according to his lawyer, in the latest in a series of spying accusations between Moscow and Washington.

Whelan works for a Michigan-based auto parts supplier and, according to the Rosbalt news agency, was arrested shortly after receiving a USB drive containing a classified list of names. "His innocence is undoubted and we trust that his rights will be respected", the family said in a statement.

The page shows that someone last logged in to the profile under Whelan's name on Friday, the same day Russian officials said he was arrested in Moscow.

His family have said Whelan, a native of MI, was in Russian Federation for a wedding and that it is impossible he is a spy.

"If the detention is not appropriate, we will demand his immediate return", Pompeo told reporters while on a visit to Brazil. The security service has not given details of the case. He was an administrative clerk and administrative chief.

Whelan's arrest has raised additional concerns about travel to Russian Federation, where the former US ambassador to the country cautioned Americans to stay away.

Ambassador Jon Huntsman met Paul Whelan at the Lefortovo prison in Moscow and afterwards spoke to his family by telephone, the US State Department said.

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Paul Whelan, who is thought to be facing 20 years in a Russian prison if convicted, was initially thought to be American, but was revealed to be a dual national on Thursday evening.

Although the exact facts of the indictment are not known, Whelan has been to Russian Federation many times.

His lawyer said the 48-year-old was "behaving in a constructive manner" and that investigators were treating him in a "humane and professional way".

"I have sent an appeal against Whelan's detention, in my appeal I am asking to change my client's measure of restraint from arrest to release on bail to the sum determined by the court", Zherebenkov told TASS on Thursday. "He is responsible for overseeing security at our facilities in Auburn Hills, Michigan and at other company locations around the world".

David appeared on CBC and CNN to discuss the arrest and speak about the kind of person his brother is, suggesting Paul was concerned about mundane details such as his parents slipping on the ice or his dog's trip to the veterinarian, rather than global politics, prior to his trip East.

She said BorgWarner does not have any facilities in Russian Federation.

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