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US Embassy in Moscow: No info on Paul Whelan’s whereabouts

Associated Press

Moscow – The US Embassy in Moscow said Tuesday it had no information on the whereabouts of an American convicted in June of espionage, despite reports that he is being transferred to a prison colony in central Russia.

Paul Whelan’s brother David said Tuesday on Twitter that he “appears to now be in Mordovia, on his way to prison camp IK-17.” The republic of Mordovia, about 350 kilometers (210 miles) east of Moscow, is home to several prison camps.

Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine, who was arrested in Moscow at the end of last year, was detained at the end of December for alleged spying.

The Interfax news agency cited David Whelan as saying he received the information from the British Embassy. Paul Whelan holds US, British, Irish and Canadian citizenship.

US Embassy spokeswoman Rebecca Ross said on Twitter: “We have not received official notification from Russian authorities of any such move, despite our repeated recent attempts to gain consular access to Paul.”

Whelan, a former corporate security executive from Michigan, was arrested in Moscow in December 2018; he was convicted in June and sentenced to 16 years in prison. Whelan’s lawyer has said his client was handed a flash drive that had classified information on it that he didn’t know about.