Whelan works for a Michigan-based vehicle parts supplier and, according to the Rosbalt news agency, was arrested shortly after receiving a USB drive containing a classified list of names.
David Whelan told CNN that his brother, who had served in Iraq, has been to Russian Federation many times in the past for both work and personal trips, and had been serving as a tour guide for some of the wedding guests. The company has said it doesn't have facilities in Russian Federation. It's based on investigators' supposition that he will hinder the investigation process.
The Free Press said Whelan was a police officer between 1988 and 2000, then worked at the Kelly Services consulting and temporary service agency from 2001 to 2016, taking jobs that included "campus security as well as electronic and IT-related security".
Whelan is a former Marine from MI.
David appeared on CBC and CNN to discuss the arrest and speak about the kind of person his brother is, suggesting Paul was concerned about mundane details such as his parents slipping on the ice or his dog's trip to the veterinarian, rather than global politics, prior to his trip East. He was accused of wrongfully using another person's Social Security number and writing bad checks.
He served two tours of duty in Iraq.
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He's no stranger to the country. He visited Russia occasionally but he did have an active Vkontakte account, the Russian version of Facebook. I always used to say yes, and with enthusiasm.
Speaking to Canada's CBC News, Mr Whelan's brother David said "there's no chance" the Russian accusations against his brother were accurate.
A self-confessed Russophile and a keen traveler, Paul Whelan has travelled to Russian Federation repeatedly as a tourist, his brother said. He had been staying at the upscale Metropol hotel in central Moscow and had been involved in the wedding party. "Russian officials may unreasonably delay US consular assistance to detained USA citizens". Whelan reportedly speaks some Russian and had been traveling to the country for a wedding.
Whelan appears to have posted several comments in Russian past year, including one congratulating the Russian people for "Victory Day", the day of Nazi surrender in 1945, and another one wishing a merry Christmas.
Notably, on Wednesday, Global Affairs Canada told the local CBC broadcaster it was aware that a Canadian national had been arrested in Russian Federation in the wake of Whelan's detention in Moscow.