Belarus escort claims she has info on Trump's Russian ties

Ms Anastasia Vashukevich was arrested on Feb 25 in Pattaya along with nine others involved in a sex training course. She said she could provide "evidence" of Russian meddling in a video she apparently recorded in the back of a Thai police truck.
Ms Anastasia Vashukevich was arrested on Feb 25 in Pattaya along with nine others involved in a sex training course. She said she could provide "evidence" of Russian meddling in a video she apparently recorded in the back of a Thai police truck.PHOTOS: INSTAGRAM/NASTYA RYBKA
Ms Anastasia Vashukevich was arrested on Feb 25 in Pattaya along with nine others involved in a sex training course. She said she could provide "evidence" of Russian meddling in a video she apparently recorded in the back of a Thai police truck.
Ms Anastasia Vashukevich was arrested on Feb 25 in Pattaya along with nine others involved in a sex training course. She said she could provide "evidence" of Russian meddling in a video she apparently recorded in the back of a Thai police truck.PHOTOS: INSTAGRAM/NASTYA RYBKA

Facing deportation after arrest in Thailand, she wants to trade 'evidence' for US asylum

PATTAYA (Thailand) • It has all the makings of a pulp novel, though the ending is still a mystery.

A high-end escort from Belarus, who says she was the mistress of a powerful Russian oligarch, flees to Thailand. But at a seaside resort known for its raunchy entertainment scene, she gets arrested for helping to conduct a sex workshop.

Hoping to avoid deportation, she offers information about United States President Donald Trump and Russia. But her appeal is for nought. No one has come forward to grant her asylum.

Such has been the saga of Ms Anastasia Vashukevich, who also goes by the name Nastya Rybka.

The 21-year-old model and blogger was arrested on Feb 25 in the Thai holiday town of Pattaya along with nine others involved in the sex training course, which was aimed at male Russian tourists.

"She will be deported," said Thailand's Immigration Bureau chief Suttipong Wongpin last Thursday. "Her immigration offence is working without a work permit."

In events that have played out publicly on Instagram and YouTube for months, Ms Vashukevich has revealed what she says was her close association with aluminium tycoon Oleg V. Deripaska and his friendship with Russia's powerful Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Sergei E. Prikhodko.

Ms Vashukevich, in a video she apparently recorded in the back of a Thai police truck after her arrest, said she could provide evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. She claims to have detailed information about connections between Russian officials, Mr Manafort and Mr Trump - if only someone could get her out of Thai detention.

Mr Deripaska has business ties to Mr Trump's former election campaign chairman, Mr Paul Manafort, who is under investigation by Mr Robert Mueller, the US special counsel looking into the campaign's connections to Russia.

Financial records show that companies controlled by Mr Manafort owed millions of dollars to Mr Deripaska, a billionaire with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

During the 2016 US presidential campaign, Mr Manafort offered to give Mr Deripaska private briefings.

Ms Vashukevich, in a video she apparently recorded in the back of a Thai police truck after her arrest, said she could provide "evidence" of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

She claims to have detailed information about connections between Russian officials, Mr Manafort and Mr Trump - if only someone could get her out of Thai detention.

Her assertion of inside knowledge might be easily dismissed but for a 25-minute video investigation posted last month on YouTube by Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny, which relies heavily on videos and photos from Ms Vashukevich.

In particular, it includes footage from 2016 of Mr Deripaska sailing on his yacht with Mr Prikhodko, and a description of their meeting in a book by Ms Vashukevich.

Mr Navalny asserted that the yacht trip was a bribe from Mr Deripaska to Mr Prikhodko and said Ms Vashukevich was one of "several" prostitutes aboard the vessel.

In one part of the video, the two men can be heard discussing Russian-US relations.

The video has had more than 6.2 million views despite efforts in Russia to block it.

Mr Deripaska said through a spokesman that Mr Navalny's allegations of bribery and prostitutes were a "hot story that appears far from being the truth".

In a last-ditch effort to prevent Ms Vashukevich's deportation from Thailand, her associate, Mr Alexander Kirillov, also known as Alex Lesley, distributed a letter addressed to "USA Consul" seeking political asylum for all 10 of the arrested sex workshop trainers.

Mr Kirillov, who was alleged to have run the workshop, was in immigration detention after his arrest.

The letter claims that their lives are at risk and reiterates the offer of inside information about communications between the oligarch, the Russian deputy premier and people in the US.

"Help us and protect us as quickly as possible because we have very important information for USA," the letter says.

A spokesman for the US Embassy in Bangkok declined to comment.

Police Lieutenant-General Suttipong said Ms Vashukevich remained in detention.

He said her visa was revoked after she was found to be working in Pattaya, about 120km south of Bangkok.

Five others arrested in connection with their roles in the sex training will also be deported, he said, and the other four will remain in Thailand, where they may face criminal charges.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 04, 2018, with the headline 'Belarus escort claims she has info on Trump's Russian ties'. Print Edition | Subscribe