Model Claiming Trump Secrets ‘Dragged’ Into Russian Detention

Detained Belarusian model Anastasia Vashukevich (C) known by her pen name Nastya Rybka leaves Thai immigration department in Bangkok. Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP

 

A Belarusian model who claimed she had proof of Russian collusion with the Trump election campaign was in custody Friday after police “dragged” her from a transit zone in Moscow’s airport, her lawyer told AFP.

Anastasia Vashukevich, known as Nastya Rybka, was in jail in southern Moscow after being detained 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 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.

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 abandon their efforts and simply carry her through what appear to be one-way double doors typically used in airports.

Vashukevich was convicted in Thailand earlier this 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.

Vashukevich was a 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.

Deripaska later sued her for the invasion of privacy.

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

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 Thursday confirmed Russian and Belarusian citizens were detained in Sheremetyevo airport on arrival from Thailand as part of an ongoing probe into “coercing into prostitution.”

On Friday morning, two men and two women remained in police custody, the interior ministry said, Russian agencies reported.

AFP

Russia Detains Model Claiming Trump Secrets

Detained Belarusian model Anastasia Vashukevich (C) known by her pen name Nastya Rybka leaves Thai immigration department in Bangkok. Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP

 

Russia on Thursday detained a Belarusian model who claimed she had evidence of Russian efforts to help Donald Trump win office, witnesses told AFP.

Anastasia Vashukevich, known by her pen-name Nastya Rybka, was held for questioning at a Moscow airport on Thursday evening after she was deported from Thailand as part of a group convicted of participating in a “sex training course,” other passengers on the flight told AFP.

Russian authorities detained her and several others including Alex Kirillov, a self-styled Russian seduction guru, witnesses said.

Plain-clothes officials led away four of the group including Vashukevich and Kirillov, a woman who gave her name as Kristina told AFP after emerging at Sheremetyevo airport arrivals.

Describing herself as Kirillov’s wife, Kristina said she heard the group shouting and asking for an explanation of “why they were being detained” and saying they were suspected of recruiting for prostitution, a crime punishable by up to six years in jail.

A law enforcement source told TASS state news agency that four including Vashukevich and Kirillov were detained at the airport over recruiting for prostitution.

Vashukevich was held with several others in a police raid last February in the sleazy seaside resort of Pattaya.

Between salacious and bizarre 

In a case that veered between salacious and bizarre, Vashukevich said she had travelled to Thailand after becoming embroiled in a political scandal with Russian aluminium tycoon Oleg Deripaska — a one-time associate of Trump’s disgraced former campaign director Paul Manafort.

She then set tongues wagging by promising to reveal “missing puzzle pieces” regarding claims the Kremlin aided Trump’s 2016 presidential election victory.

But the material never surfaced and critics dismissed the claims as a publicity stunt.

In the risque Pattaya seminar led by Kirillov, some participants wore shirts that said “sex animator” — though one person at the time described it as more of a romance and relationship course.

Vashukevich pleaded guilty alongside seven others to multiple charges, including solicitation and illegal assembly at a Pattaya court on Tuesday, which ordered the group be deported.

Kirillov, who has served as a quasi-spokesman for the mostly Russian group, told reporters as they arrived at court Tuesday that he believed they were set up.

“I think somebody ordered (our arrest)… for money,” he said.

Vashukevich looked somber as she entered the courthouse and did not respond to questions from the media.

The book about seducing oligarchs 

On Thursday afternoon, Vashukevich and the majority of the convicted were put on an Aeroflot flight for Moscow, bringing to an end the Thai side of a baffling case.

Thailand’s immigration chief Surachate Hakparn said the last of the group would leave the country later that evening.

They were also blacklisted from returning to Thailand.

It was unclear what would happen to them on arrival in Moscow but as a Belarusian citizen, Vashukevich was expected to transit to Belarus.

Vashukevich, who has more than 120,000 followers on Instagram and penned a book about seducing oligarchs, already faces legal problems in Russia.

Deripaska won an invasion of privacy lawsuit against her and Kirillov in July after a video apparently filmed by the model showed the tycoon vacationing with an influential Russian deputy prime minister at the time.

“I don’t think she wants to get out in Moscow,” a Russian friend in Thailand who helped with the case told AFP on Thursday.

Both Washington and Moscow publicly shrugged off Vashukevich’s story, which the US State Department described as “bizarre”.

Kremlin-connected Deripaska and Manafort, Trump’s ex-campaign manager, did business together in the mid-2000s.

Manafort has since been convicted in the US of financial crimes related to political work he did in Ukraine before the 2016 election as well as witness tampering.

AFP

Model Claiming Trump Secrets Pleads Not Guilty In Thailand Case

Detained Belarusian model Anastasia Vashukevich, better known by her pen name Nastya Rybka, steps out of a prison van on arrival at a court in Pattaya to face trial on August 20, 2018, following a police raid on a sex training course. 
Krit Phromsakla Na SAKOLNAKORN / THAI NEWS PIX / AFP

 

A Belarusian model who sparked global intrigue after claiming she had evidence of Russian efforts to help Donald Trump win office pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of running an illegal “sex training” class in Thailand.

Anastasia Vashukevich, better known by her pen name Nastya Rybka, has been detained in Thailand since February when police raided a risque seminar in the seaside resort city of Pattaya.

Vashukevich had travelled to Thailand after becoming embroiled in a political scandal with Russian aluminium tycoon Oleg Deripaska, a onetime associate of Trump’s now-disgraced former campaign director Paul Manafort.

She set off a scramble for details after she promised in an Instagram video to reveal “missing puzzle pieces” on claims the Kremlin aided the US President’s 2016 election victory.

No material has been released to substantiate her claims, and critics have accused her of a publicity stunt.

Vashukevich and her seven co-defendants arrived at the Pattaya court on Monday for a pre-trial hearing on the charges that include unlawful assembly and conspiracy.

Police initially charged the group with work permit violations but later alleged the seminar, led by self-styled Russian seduction guru Alex Kirillov and ostensibly a course training participants to be better lovers, was actually intended to arrange paid sex for participants.

Photos of course participants in detention after the February raid showed them wearing t-shirts that said “sex animator”.

Kirillov, who has served as a spokesperson for the mostly-Russian group because he speaks English, told the court that all eight defendants were pleading not guilty.

“We did not commit any crimes,” he said. “What we do is training on how to seduce men and women. We do not make any sexual activity.”

Vashukevich cried after the prosecutor showed a photo of several of her co-defendants hugging at a nightclub after a training session.

“Why was I arrested? Why am I here?” she said.

The next hearing has been set for August 27.

Pattaya, on Thailand’s southern coast, is a party town with a reputation for vice and a sizeable Russian expatriate community.

Both Washington and Moscow have publically shrugged off Vashukevich’s story, which US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert described as “bizarre”.

Additional legal troubles are also awaiting Vashukevich and Kirillov back in Russia, where Deripaska won an invasion of privacy lawsuit against the duo last month.

They were ordered to pay $8,000 each to Deripaska, who sued them after a video apparently filmed by Vashukevich surfaced which appeared to show the tycoon vacationing with Sergei Prikhodko, an influential Russian deputy prime minister at the time.

Kremlin-connected Deripaska and Manafort did business together in the mid-2000s, The New York Times reported last year, but their relationship broke down into legal wrangling.

Manafort is awaiting a verdict in his own trial on fraud and tax evasion charges in the US state of Virginia.

AFP