Kremlin dismisses swapping American ‘spy’ for Russian agent Butina

Kremlin dismisses swapping American 'spy' for Russian agent Butina

Several other Russians are serving US prison sentences criticised by Moscow, including convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, drug smuggler Konstantin Yaroshenko and hacker Roman Seleznev, the son of a parliamentarian.

A former US Marine who now works as head of security for a Michigan auto parts company, Mr Whelan holds US, British, Canadian and Irish passports as a result of his family’s emigration. 

He travelled to Russia several times beginning in 2006 and was in Moscow for a wedding, his relatives said.

The well-connected news site Rosbalt claimed that he was arrested in the Metropole hotel near the Kremlin after receiving a USB stick with a list of employees of a state agency. 

He is being held in Lefortovo pre-trial detention centre, a former KGB prison that is still known for its harsh conditions.

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