Published: Tue, January 08, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

British warning: UK warns Russia against 'chess games' over alleged spy

British warning: UK warns Russia against 'chess games' over alleged spy

"I can't imagine how someone with a law enforcement background who is also a former US Marine, and who is now working in corporate security and is also aware of the risks of travel, would have broken any law let alone the law related to espionage", he said.

It has been reported that Mr Whelan also holds an Irish passport.

The lawyer assigned to the prisoner does not speak English and Paul Whelan, who runs security for a MI auto parts firm and who was in Moscow to attend a wedding, only speaks a few words of Russian, his brother said.

It was speculated he could be used in exchange for the release of Russian Maria Butina, who is being held in the U.S. after admitting acting as a secret agent for the Kremlin.

Hunt adds that "we are extremely anxious about him and his family".

The twin brother of the American man being held in Moscow on alleged spying charges is urging the USA government to help get his brother released.

Paul Whelan, who also holds Canadian, British and Irish citizenship was detained in late December. The Russian government has so far given no details about the allegations against him, but a close look at his social media history suggests why he might have come to the attention of the Russian security services, regardless of his motives.

Whelan was taken into custody by Russia's Federal Security Service on December 28.

Whelan's brother said it would not be surprising to find Russian soldiers among his contacts.

Britain and Russia's relationship sharply deteriorated past year after a former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, was poisoned in England with a nerve agent and spent months recovering.

Whelan also holds an Irish passport, although he entered Russian Federation on his United States one, an official source told AFP.

The Foreign Secretary said that Paul Whelan, 48, who lives in MI but has joint UK-UK citizenship, was being given "every support that we can" after his status became clear. His arrest has led to speculation that Russia could be using him to bargain for a Russian woman who has pleaded guilty to acting as a foreign agent in the U.S.

He was hired in 2017 by Auburn Hills, Michigan-based BorgWarner and now is the auto parts supplier's global security director.

The New York Times quizzed former Central Intelligence Agency officers, who say they don't believe he's a spy.

The US State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not immediately respond to CNN's requests for comment.

"We are giving every support we can, but we don't agree with individuals being used in diplomatic chess games".

"I think that we have to give our special services the opportunity to finalize things with the detainees".

His family said he was visiting Moscow for a friend's wedding.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "Our staff have requested consular access to a British man detained in Russian Federation after receiving a request for assistance from him".

"There was an ongoing competition with his sister to see who could get the most", the person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

A British official told ABC News the U.S. Embassy in Moscow alerted the British Embassy Thursday that Whelan had a British passport.

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