Suspected American spy Paul Whelan loses his first appeal in Moscow, as his lawyer confirms ‘classified intelligence’ charges
The Moscow City Court has rejected suspected spy Paul Whelan’s attempt to appeal his arrest. On January 22, in a closed hearing, prosecutors revealed that Whelan was apprehended in possession of classified information. His lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenkov, later confirmed to journalists these allegations, also stating that Whelan has met with diplomats from the U.S., Ireland, and Canada, where he has citizenship. Whelan is also a British subject.
According to Zherebenkov, Whelan accepted a flash drive containing secret intelligence, thinking the USB stick held only photographs of churches. “He's interested in cultural information,” Zherebenkov explained.
According to the news agency Rosbalt, Whelan was arrested after obtaining a USB device containing a classified list of personnel at one of Russia’s state intelligence organizations.
On December 29, Moscow’s Lefortovo District Court extended Whelan’s pre-trial detention until at least February 28, as investigators build their case against him. Whelan’s brother says Paul was in Moscow to attend a friend’s wedding.