Russia Detains Belarusian Escort Claiming Trump Secrets
By RFE/RL January 17, 2019
Russia has detained a Belarusian model who claimed she had evidence of the Kremlin's efforts to help Donald Trump win the presidency, reports from Moscow say.
Anastasia Vashukevich, who also goes by Nastya Rybka, was held for questioning at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on January 17 after being deported from Thailand with others who were convicted of soliciting sex, AFP reported.
Aleksandr Kirillov, a self-styled Russian sex guru aka Alex Lesley, was also among four people who were detained by Russian authorities at the airport.
They were taken away by officials in plainclothes, said a fellow passenger on the plane named Kristina, who said she was Kirillov's wife.
Kristina said she heard the four arguing with the officials about being detained.
An unnamed law enforcement source told the Russian state agency TASS that the four were detained at the airport on suspicion of "recruiting for prostitution."
The development is is the latest twist in a saga that started in February 2018, when Russian anticorruption activist Aleksei Navalny published an expose appearing to show a former deputy Russian prime minister off the coast of Norway on a yacht belonging to the Kremlin-linked oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
Navalny's report, which drew on photographs and video that Vashukevich published on Instagram in 2016, appeared to show then-Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko being offered lavish treatment on Deripaska's yacht. The two also appear to discuss U.S. politics.
Vashukevich, who was pictured on the yacht, says she had an affair with Deripaska.
Vashukevich and her partner, Aleksandr Kirillov, known as Alex Lesley, made international headlines again when, shortly after their arrest in Pattaya, they asked for U.S. asylum.
Vashukevich claimed that she could reveal details about Russia's alleged meddling in the U.S. election.
Deripaska, one of several Russian tycoons hit by U.S. sanctions, was once an associate of U.S. President Donald Trump's ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
With reporting by AP and Reuters
Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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