Anastasia Vashukevich, a paid escort with close ties to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who is a business crony of Paul Manafort, claims to possess 16 hours of audio recordings which she says would shed light on Russian interference with the 2016 election. She will hand over the recordings if the United States grants her asylum. Vashukevich is currently in jail in Thailand where she faces criminal charges and deportation to Belarus after coming under suspicion of working in Thailand without a visa at a sex-training seminar in the city of Patightaya. New York Times:
Vashukevich, who described herself as close to the Russian aluminum tycoon Oleg V. Deripaska, said that audio recordings she made in August 2016 included discussions he had about the United States presidential election with people she declined to identify.
“If America gives me protection, I will tell everything I know,” Ms. Vashukevich said on Monday. “I am afraid to go back to Russia. Some strange things can happen.”
Vashukevich was featured last month in a 25-minute video on YouTube produced by Russian opposition figure Aleksei A. Navalny, which relies heavily on videos and photographs from Ms. Vashukevich. Vashukevich went sailing with other model/escorts, Deripaska, and Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prihodko on Deripaska’s yacht.
Russia has tried to block Mr. Navalny’s video, which had nearly 6.4 million views on YouTube as of Monday. A spokesman for Mr. Deripaska has said the allegations of bribery and prostitutes on the yacht were a “hot story that appears far from being the truth.”
In the interview at the immigration center on Monday, Ms. Vashukevich said that she had often recorded conversations between Mr. Deripaska and his associates, and that she had 16 to 18 hours of recordings, including conversations about the United States presidential election.
“They were discussing elections,” she said. “Deripaska had a plan about elections.”
But, she added, “I can’t tell you everything.”
Some of the conversations were with three people who spoke English fluently and who she thought were Americans, she said.
“It is not only about me,” she said. “It concerns a lot of people in America and other countries.”
Vashukevich is grateful for the press she’s received while in detention because as her associate, Alexander Kirillov, also being detained in Thailand, said, “I think the press makes us a little bit safer because if they killed us in the prison, everyone would know.”