'Sex trainer' who said she had knowledge about Russian election interference arrested
On Friday, ABC News reported that Anastasia Vashukevich, a Belarusian Instagram model and self-described "sex trainer" who claimed to have information on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, has been detained on prostitution charges at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport:
Anastasia Vashukevich, better known by her online persona Nastya Rybka, was drawn into the Trump-Russia saga in 2018 after Instagram videos surfaced of her aboard a yacht with Oleg Deripaska, a Kremlin-connected Russian oligarch with long-standing business ties to Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort. After Vashukevich was arrested in Thailand last year on work permit violations, she claimed to have recordings relating to Russia and the 2016 election, and promised to hand information over to the FBI if the agency would guarantee her safety.
The allegations have not attracted much attention in America because they remain uncorroborated. But the story has gained much more traction in Russian media because the 2016 video of her with Deripaska allegedly shows him bribing a Kremlin official, former Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Prikhodko, with a sex party.
Russian opposition activist Alexey Navalny, who was sued by Deripaska for investigating this incident, has also suggested Deripaska and Prikhodko might have been discussing information on the U.S. election provided by Manafort, as emails obtained by the Washington Post show Manafort offered to give Deripaska private briefings. Such an arrangement would not have been out of the ordinary for Manafort, who also appears to have shared campaign data with a Ukrainian associate tied to Russian intelligence.
All of this comes at a time when President Donald Trump's administration is lifting U.S. sanctions against Deripaska's energy and metals companies. Senate Democrats introduced a resolution to oppose an end to the sanctions, but the motion came up three votes short as most Republicans sided with Trump.