American charged with spying by Russia 'cultivated' contacts in Moscow for years, is a citizen of at least THREE other countries and is 'most likely' being held as leverage to secure the return of Maria Butina, espionage experts claim | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


American charged with spying by Russia 'cultivated' contacts in Moscow for years, is a citizen of at least THREE other countries and is 'most likely' being held as leverage to secure the return of Maria Butina, espionage experts claim

A U.S. corporate security executive and former Marine who has been jailed in Moscow on spying charges has spent more than a decade cultivating friends and contacts in Russia - though experts say his unusual background makes it highly unlikely that he is a CIA asset.

Paul Whelan, 48, has been traveling to Russia for more than a decade, and had a profile on the Russian social media site VKontakte, where many of his friends had connections to the military.

Whelan was arrested December 28 while on a two-week visit to the country and has been charged with espionage.

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