MOSCOW, October 24. /TASS/. Most witnesses in US national Paul Whelan’s case say that he is not involved in spying against Russia, lawyer for the defendant Vladimir Zherebenkov told TASS.
"Much in the case is in Whelan's favor. In particular, all witnesses say that he is not involved in spying. Only one person claimed that he had conducted intelligence activities and told of a USB flash drive with secret information. Whelan believes it to be the FSB’s provocation,"Zherebenkov stated.
Moscow’s Lefortovo Court prolonged Whelan’s arrest until December 29 on Thursday.
According to Zherebenkov, the consideration on the merits will start roughly in May 2020. "We will appeal against the arrest decision. It will take time. Then all formalities will be completed, and the case will go to the Moscow City Court where the consideration on the merits will start. It will take place roughly in May 2020," he said.
Zherebenkov added that Whelan is actively studying the case. "Pages are translated into English for him, and he studies them. He bears himself with humor and dignity," the lawyer commented.
US citizen Paul Whelan, aged 48, who also holds British, Canadian and Irish passports, is a global security chief at BorgWarner, a Michigan-based automotive components company. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) informed that Whelan had been detained on December 28, 2018 in Moscow while on a spy mission. A criminal investigation was opened against him on espionage charges carrying a punishment of up to 20 years behind bars.