Whelan brother: U.S. Embassy monitoring Novi man's condition

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News
This undated photo provided by the Whelan family shows Paul Whelan in Iceland. Whelan, a former U.S. Marine arrested in Russia on espionage charges, was visiting Moscow over the holidays to attend a wedding when he suddenly disappeared, his brother said Jan. 1, 2019.

The Novi man being detained in Moscow on suspicion of spying is well and the U.S. Embassy is monitoring his condition in prison, his brother said Friday.

Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine who also holds Canadian, British and Irish citizenship, was detained in Moscow in late December.

ReadAccused Novi spy no stranger to setbacks, squabbles

His brother, David Whelan, said Friday in a statement he received an update on Paul Whelan from U.S. Ambassador to Russa Jon Huntsman Jr.

"The ambassador said that he had spoken with the UK, Canadian, and Irish embassies and consular officials from all four countries will be meeting on Monday to coordinate their oversight of his detention," David Whelan also said. "He stressed that this oversight is a critical part of the consular support the U.S. government can provide Paul. Our family continues to be very grateful for all of their efforts on Paul's behalf."

ReadRussia: Other countries can visit spy suspect from Novi

Whelan, 48, was arrested in Moscow on Dec. 28. The Russian Federal Security Service, in announcing the arrest three days later, said Whelan was caught “during an espionage operation.” 

Paul Whelan's family has said he was in Russia to attend a wedding.

He is the director of global security for BorgWarner, an Auburn Hills-based automotive components supplier, the company confirmed. He has worked there since January 2017 and is responsible for overseeing security at facilities around the world.

Earlier in his career, Paul Whelan was discharged from the Marines for bad conduct. 

On Friday, Rich Edson of Fox News asked U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo if officials could "unequivocally say that (Paul Whelan) wasn't spying for the U.S."

"I can’t say much more than has already been said," Pompeo answered. "But the American people should know the Trump administration is very focused on making sure that every American who’s detained anywhere in the world has been treated properly, handled accordingly, and where they are not, using every lever of U.S. power to make sure that they are returned home safely to their family. That’s the case in Russia. It’s the case all across the world. For a lot of reasons, I can’t say much more about that particular case."

David Whelan also said an effort to set up a fund to enable his brother to buy basic toiletries and other items in jail is moving forward.

"The U.S. State Department created an account for family members to make money available to Paul," he said. "Those funds have now been forwarded to a bank in Moscow and should be available to Paul next week. The U.S. Embassy staff is hoping to meet with Paul on Wednesday."

He also said Whelan's family continues to rally around the push to return him home.

"We realize that it will take months or years for the Russian legal system to process Paul's case, and we're hopeful that action by Western governments will occur in the meantime," he said. "Thanks for your continued interest in Paul's arrest and efforts to bring him home."

ReadWhelan brother: Are 'pieces being moved around?'


Twitter: @CharlesERamirez