Model who says she has Trump info held in Russia

Belarusian model Anastasia Vashukevich being escorted before a court hearing in Moscow yesterday. She was convicted in Thailand last week after she pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including soliciting and illegal assembly. She claimed to have pro
Belarusian model Anastasia Vashukevich being escorted before a court hearing in Moscow yesterday. She was convicted in Thailand last week after she pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including soliciting and illegal assembly. She claimed to have proof of Russian collusion with the Trump election campaign and pleaded for US help, fearing prosecution in Russia.PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW • A Belarusian model who claimed she had proof of Russian collusion with the Trump election campaign was held in custody after police "dragged" her from a transit zone in Moscow's airport, her lawyer told Agence France-Presse.

Anastasia Vashukevich, known as Nastya Rybka, was in jail in southern Moscow after being detained last Friday with several others at the airport. They flew in after being deported from Thailand, where they had spent a year in prison for participating in a "sex training course".

A Russian lawyer representing Vashukevich branded the arrest an "international scandal", saying his client had "committed no crimes" and was planning to travel on to Belarus. Instead she was "moved from the transit zone onto the Russian territory by unidentified law enforcement employees", said Mr Dmitry Zatsarinsky.

He said employees in civilian clothes "dragged her out of the transit zone" and added that he was planning to lodge an official complaint.

Mr Zatsarinsky posted a video on his Instagram that shows five or six men trying to force a young woman resembling Vashukevich into a wheelchair as she tries to break free.

They then abandoned their efforts and simply carried her through what appeared to be one-way double doors typically used in airports.

Vashukevich was convicted in Thailand earlier last week after nearly a year in jail, following her arrest in a seaside resort of Pattaya.

 
 
 
 

She pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including soliciting and illegal assembly. She was part of a group participating in a seminar led by Russian self-styled seduction guru Alex Kirillov. The court convicted her and seven co-defendants.

She had travelled to Thailand after sparking a political scandal when she posted a video allegedly showing tycoon Oleg Deripaska and an influential Russian deputy prime minister relaxing on a yacht.

Mr Deripaska later sued her for invasion of privacy.

While in Thai custody, she claimed she had information about alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election and pleaded for US help, fearing prosecution in Russia.

Mr Zatsarinsky said that some people in the group had been deported to Belarus via Ukraine, rather than Russia, and faced no problems at the airport in Kiev.

Russian police late last Thursday confirmed Russian and Belarusian citizens were detained in Sheremetyevo airport on arrival from Thailand as part of an ongoing probe into "coercion into prostitution".

Last Friday morning, two men and two women remained in police custody, the interior ministry was cited by Russian agencies as saying.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 20, 2019, with the headline 'Model who says she has Trump info held in Russia'. Print Edition | Subscribe