Accused spy Paul Whelan of Metro Detroit hears fate Monday in Moscow

June 13, 2020, 9:44 AM

The defendant, posing in Moscow before his 2018 arrest. (Photos via WXYZ)

The espionage novel-like case of Novi executive Paul Whelan reaches the sentencing stage Monday in a Russian court.

Whelan, a 50-year-old former Marine originally from Ann Arbor, was arrested in December 2018 in a Moscow hotel room and accused of spying. He's director of global security for BorgWarner, an Auburn Hills vehicle parts supplier, and says he was in Russia's capital for a friend's wedding.

A Russian friend in law enforcement planted a hard drive on him without his knowledge, Whelan reportedly testified during a trial.

Paul Whelan lived in Novi and worked in Auburn Hills

The Detroit News revisits the case:

Prosecutors are seeking up to 18 years in a labor camp, which Whelan's family and attorneys consider particularly harsh, Whelan's twin brother David said. ...

His family doesn't really know what's going to happen Monday, but they expect Whelan will be automatically convicted under Russia's justice system, which involves no due process. ... 

The family is eager for the verdict because that means Whelan can finally move to the next step, where diplomats become heavily involved. The Russian foreign ministry has indicated during the last year its interest in trading the American for certain Russian prisoners or for access to diplomatic properties the they've been denied access to in New York and Maryland, David said. ...

Russian media reported during the trial that Paul believes Ilya Yatsenko, an FSB agent, set him up to avoid repaying a $1,400 loan to Paul, David said. The FSB is the successor agency to the communist KGB secret police.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefly answered a question about the Michiganian this week:

Read more:  The Detroit News

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