Russia Charges BorgWarner Exec with Espionage

January 03, 2019 at 5:38 PM

Russian authorities have charged Paul Whelan, director of global security for BorgWarner Inc., with espionage and reportedly may hold him until Feb. 28.

Whelan was arrested on Dec 28 by Russia’s Federal Security Service while “carrying out spying activities.” His family in suburban Detroit insists Whelan is no spy and was in Moscow to attend a wedding. He could face 10 years in prison if convicted.

The U.S. ambassador to Russia has visited Whelan at a jail in Moscow. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the American government has requested details about the charges.

Whelan’s detention is widely believed to be a Russian government protest to the arrest of Russian gun activist Maria Butina in November. She pleaded guilty last month for being an unregistered foreign agent and faces six months in prison.