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

Tape Of Trump Discussing Money For Alleged Affair Released

This combination of file pictures created on April 11, 2018 shows Michael Cohen (L), President Trump’s personal lawyer, and US President Donald Trump. NICHOLAS KAMM, MARK WILSON / AFP / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA

 

Donald Trump can be heard discussing with his personal lawyer how to buy the rights to the story of a Playboy model, who says she had an affair with the now president, on a tape released Tuesday by CNN. 

The existence of the tape, secretly recorded by his former longtime attorney Michael Cohen two months before the 2016 election, was reported last week by the New York Times, which said the FBI seized it during a raid on Cohen’s office this year.

Now, the recording is available for the world to listen to.

It involves Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who says she had a months-long fling with Trump after they met in 2006, shortly after Trump’s wife Melania gave birth to their son, Barron.

In the tape, Trump and Cohen talk about buying the rights to McDougal’s story, which she had sold a month earlier to the National Enquirer for $150,000. The tabloid never published the story.

In the at-times muddled recording, Cohen says he wants to set up a company to acquire the rights off American Media, the company that owns the Enquirer.

During the campaign, the Trump team denied any knowledge of the deal between McDougal and American Media.

But in the tape, candidate Trump expresses no surprise when the issue comes up and Cohen talks about essentially reimbursing the company for what it paid McDougal.

“I need to open up a company for the transfer of all that info regarding our friend David,” Cohen says, apparently referring to David Pecker, the head of American Media.

“When it comes time for the financing, which will be –,” Cohen says, at which point Trump interrupts and says “what financing?”

“We’ll have to pay –,” Cohen says, according to a CNN transcript of the conversation, which also addressed other business issues between the two men.

“We won’t pay with cash?” Trump asks, according to the CNN transcript of a segment that is particularly hard to hear.

Cohen is then heard saying “no, no” and it is not clear what is said next.

The tape, made in September 2016, two months before the election, was provided to CNN by Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis.

Cohen, who has fallen out with Trump, is under federal investigation in New York for his business dealings and reportedly whether hush payments violated campaign finance laws.

AFP

Nigerian Fashion Industry Is Next Big Thing – Agbani Darego

A former beauty queen and former Miss World, Agbani Darego has said that the fast growing fashion industry in Nigeria will be the “next big thing” in the international market.

“I am excited for where we are right now and I know the fashion industry in Nigeria is going to be the next big thing, in my opinion,” she said while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise, on Saturday.

Speaking about the life of a model, the fashion icon said the profession is not as glamorous as people think. “You have to be professional; you have to be on time. It’s not as glamorous as people think it is.”

“The process it takes to achieve the finished work which people see is a lot of work,” she said, adding that, “you are in hair and makeup for hours. You are on your feet all day long”.

Darego also confirmed her plans to leave the run way and move into the designing aspect of fashion although “modelling, obviously was my first love in the industry”.

Ms Darego expressed pleasure at progress so far in the fashion industry, adding that, “we still have a little way to go”.

She stated that there is a huge difference between what the industry is now compared to what it was when she debuted.

“You start and you grow,” she said.

“I am very blessed with the progress we have accomplished so far”.

The competition in Nigeria is becoming stiffer as many brands in the country shoot their commercials in other countries like South Africa thereby diminishing the opportunities available for Nigerian models.

Agbani Darego explained that most brands don’t understand the benefits models bring to their products. “Yes you may have the most amazing designs but if you don’t have the right model to help you market, then I’m sorry, you are not going to sell to anyone”.

She added that “as soon as we Nigerians recognise that then the modelling industry in Nigeria is going to grow even further than its doing already”.