LONDON — The American man who was arrested final week in Russia on a spying cost is a Marine Corps veteran who was in Moscow to attend a marriage, his household mentioned on Tuesday.
Russia’s Federal Safety Service, generally known as the F.S.B., mentioned on Monday that the American, Paul N. Whelan, had been detained on Friday “throughout an act of espionage,” and legal case had been opened towards him. Conviction on a spying cost in Russia carries a jail sentence of as much as 20 years.
“We seen that he was not in communication,” his mother and father and siblings mentioned in an announcement, “which was very a lot out of character for him even when he was touring.”
They mentioned they’d not realized of his arrest till it was reported by the information media on Monday. Since then, they’ve contacted an array of United States authorities places of work.
“We’re deeply involved for his security and well-being,” the household assertion mentioned. “His innocence is undoubted and we belief that his rights might be revered.”
Mr. Whelan, 48, labored in company safety for BorgWarner, an auto elements maker based mostly close to Detroit, his twin brother, David, wrote in an e-mail.
“We perceive that the U.S. authorities will see him inside a 72-hour window that has already begun,” David Whelan wrote.
“Paul was attending a marriage for a fellow former Marine,” he wrote. “The marriage get together had been staying on the Metropol resort” in Moscow.
He added that the household didn’t know of “anybody who has seen or interacted with him since simply earlier than 5 p.m. in Moscow on the 28th.”
The arrest of Mr. Whelan got here 15 days after a Russian lady, Maria Butina, pleaded responsible in Washington to conspiring to behave as a international agent, working with Russian officers to affect American political figures. The Kremlin has claimed she is harmless, insisting that Ms. Butina by no means acted as an agent for Moscow.
Tensions between the 2 capitals have been excessive over a collection of revelations about Russia’s clandestine efforts to affect United States politics and the 2016 election. Russian officers have denied any involvement in such efforts.
Whereas it isn’t but clear what prompted Mr. Whelan’s arrest, Russia has been recognized to arrest foreigners with a watch towards buying and selling them for Russians held overseas.