British, Irish, Canadian diplomats may visit Paul Whelan detained in Russia – brother

NEW YORK, January 8. /TASS/. British, Irish and Canadian consular officials might visit US national Paul Whelan detained in Russia on charges of spying, David Whelan, Paul’s brother, wrote in an email sent to a TASS correspondent on Tuesday.

“We learned this morning that Paul’s [Whelan] requests for consular access, made last week at the visit he had with US Embassy officials, are moving forward,” the email says. “Paul’s family members have communicated with UK, Canadian, and Irish government staff about his situation. All three countries made requests for consular access to Paul and those requests were granted by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs [when: I don’t know, the email came to us this morning about 0800 Eastern]. US Embassy staff say that the other consular officials all hope to visit Paul later this week.”

“We were hoping for a phone call with Paul’s lawyer’s office, through an English-speaking staff person, but the person failed to participate in the call”, the brother said. “Paul’s family will look forward to an opportunity to touch base in the near future.”

According to official data, Paul Whelan, 48, is global security chief at BorgWarner, a Michigan-based automotive components company. In the 1990s, before joining the US army, he worked for Michigan police. He served at the US Marine Corps, having administrative posts. In January 2008, he was convicted on embezzlement charges and fired from the US army.

Last week, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said US citizen Paul Whelan was detained on December 28, 2018, in Moscow while on a spy mission. A criminal investigation was opened against him on espionage charges carrying a punishment of up to 20 years in jail. US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman visited Whelan at the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center last Wednesday.

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