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Paul Whelan in Iceland. (Photo courtesy of the Whelan family.)

UPDATE, 11:40 a.m., Jan. 2:

USA Today reports that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the Trump administration will demand Paul Whelan’s release if the charges of spying against him are unfounded.

“We are hopeful within the next hours we’ll get consular access to see him and get a chance to learn more,” Pompeo told reporters during a trip to Brazil, USA Today reports. “We’ve made clear to the Russians our expectation that we will learn more about the charges, come to understand what it is he’s been accused of and if the detention is not appropriate we will demand his immediate return.”

BorgWarner released a statement Tuesday on reports of the arrest of the company’s director of global security, Paul N. Whelan. Reports in the Financial Times say Whelan, a former marine, was taken into custody by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). Whelan’s brother said in a family statement posted to Twitter that his brother was in Moscow for a fellow former marine’s wedding.

His brother, David, posted a statement from the family to his Twitter account: 

“We have read reports of the arrest in Moscow of Paul Whelan, our son & brother. Paul is a retired Marine and was visiting Moscow to attend a wedding. We noticed that he was not in communication on the 28th, which was very much out of character for him even when he was traveling. We learned of his arrest on Monday morning after his detention was picked up on newswires and have contacted Congressional representatives, the U.S. Embassy and the State Department. We are deeply concerned for his safety and well-being. His innocence is undoubted and we trust that his rights will be respected.”

Whelan’s employer, Auburn Hills, Mich-based BorgWarner released a statement Jan. 1:

“Statement regarding Paul N. Whelan

BorgWarner Inc. learned of the arrest of our employee Paul Whelan by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) from news reports published Dec. 31, 2018. We can confirm that Mr. Whelan currently serves as the company’s director, global security. He is responsible for overseeing security at our facilities in Auburn Hills, Michigan and at other company locations around the world.

BorgWarner has been in contact with the relevant U.S. Government authorities in order to help our employee and the U.S. government. We ask that any further inquiries regarding this issue be directed to the U.S. State Department.”

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MORE:

WSJ: Family says he’s no spy
WSJ: Russia detains American on spying charge

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