Russia Arrests BorgWarner’s Security Chief for Espionage

January 02, 2019 at 11:27 AM

State authorities in Russia have arrested Paul Whelan, director of global security for BorgWarner Inc., on suspicion of espionage.

Whelan’s family says he was in Russia to attend a wedding in Moscow and is innocent. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) reports that he was detained “during an act of espionage” on Dec. 28. He has not been in contact with his family since then. He faces as much as 10 years in prison if found guilty.

Analysts widely believe that Whelan was detained as a possible swap for Maria Butina, a Russian gun-rights activist who was arrested in the U.S. in November and charged with being a spy. She pleaded guilty on Dec. 10 of conspiracy to act as an unregistered foreign agent.

Last month President Vladimir Putin declared in his annual year-end news conference that Russia “will not arrest innocent people simply to exchange them for someone else later on.”