US citizen Paul Whelan, who was arrested by Russia’s FSB on December, 28 on suspicion of espionage, had been invited to the wedding of his friend, his brother David told BBC.
According to the brother, Paul, who works for US company BorgWarner, is innocent.
On December 3, the Federal Security Service (FSB) reported that the US citizen Paul Whelan was detained on December 28 when ‘conducting espionage activity’. A criminal case under Article 276 of the Criminal Code (espionage) was opened against him. Whelan may face up to 20 years in prison.
Earlier, the arrestee’s brother told The Guardian that Paul was a US marine who retired from active service. He came to Russia at the invitation of his friend, also a former marine, who was going to married a Russian girl, the family said.
Since 2007, Paul Whelan has repeatedly visited Russia as a tourist and employee of Kelly Services consulting company, but all his visits were short, the brother stated. A Kelly Services representative confirmed that a man bearing such a name had worked for them until February 2016, but failed to be more specific.
Paul Whelan flew to Russia on December, 22. His family talked to him on December 28, on the eve of the wedding. They learned about the arrest from media reports.