WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Anastasia Vashukevich, a Belarusian model, says she knows some confidential information involving Russia and U.S. President Donald Trump.
- Vashukevich became a sensation on the internet because of her controversial claims and racy selfies.
- She told the Associated Press Wednesday that she wants to trade information on alleged Kremlin ties to Trump’s presidential campaign for her freedom.
Anastasia Vashukevich became famous when she started suggesting corrupt links between billionaire Oleg Deripaska and Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko, a top Kremlin official, in her social media posts.
In early February, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top critics, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, published a report sourcing info from Vashukevich’s posts. It featured a 2016 video from a yacht, allegedly owned by Deripaska. Vashukevich says she had an affair with the billionaire.
Vashukevich claims that she can tie the Kremlin to Trump and his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort. The latter previously worked for Deripaska before working for Trump.
On Wednesday, Navalny told the AP that even he has doubts that the model has any proof about her allegations.
“I think such statements are made because of fears for her own life because they have been detained in Thailand,” Navalny said.
Deripaska sued Vashukevich and her “sex guru,” Alexander Kirillov, for the privacy breach. The Russian court enforced an order to communications providers to block access to Navalny’s website until he deleted the videos.
Vashukevich, along with nine other people, including Kirillov, were arrested on Sunday in a Pattaya resort while giving sex lessons to Russian tourists. Thai Immigration Police Maj. Satawat Srirattanapong said the 10 were arrested for working without a permit.
Vashukevich said she won’t give out information of what she knows until she is assured she won’t be sent back to Russia.
“I can say something only when I will be in a safe place, sorry, because I am worried about my life,” she said.
Vashukevich made a video while in custody addressed to “Dear American media” and posted it on Instagram.
“I didn’t want to tell you about many things. Now they’re trying to lock us up. But now I’m ready to put together all the pieces of the puzzle that you have been missing, and back it up with audio and video regarding the ties of our esteemed lawmakers with Manafort, Trump and all this buzz around the U.S. election. I know a lot,” she said in the video.
Kirillov said that the Russian government staged their arrests.
“Political reasons. We know so much. So that’s why they want us to go to Russia,” he said. “We think that in a few days, maybe even today, they will send us to Russia, very fast, and I think you will lose us, and never see us more.”