Jailed model who claimed she has dirt on Russian oligarch speaks out

/ AP

An imprisoned model from Belarus who claimed last year she had evidence of Russian involvement in helping elect Donald Trump president has told Russian media she can't wait to be released. Anastasia Vashukevich, who has been in a Thai prison since February last year, was given a suspended sentenced Tuesday and ordered to be deported after she pleaded guilty to soliciting and conspiracy.

Vashukevich, also known as Nastya Rybka, earlier claimed to have recordings of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska talking about interference in the 2016 U.S. election, but never released them. She has said she provided "escort" services to Deripaska, who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Anastasia Vashukevich talks from inside a police transport vehicle at a detention center in Pattaya, south of Bangkok, Thailand, Feb. 28, 2018, after being arrested in the Thai resort city of Pattaya while giving sex lessons to Russian tourists. AP

State-owned news agency RIA Novosti, in Vashukevich's first interview since her arrest, quoted her as saying that she is looking forward to a free life. She made no comment about her allegations about Deripaska.

Deripaska, who also had a working relationship with Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump'sformer campaign manager who was investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller and convicted last year of tax and bank fraud.

Vashukevich indicated she would turn over the recordings she claimed to have if the U.S. could help secure her release, but later withdrew the offer, suggesting that she and Deripaska had reached an agreement.

Vashukevich's earlier revelation of an alleged affair with Deripaska fueled opposition allegations in Russia of official corruption and enraged the Kremlin. A public scandal erupted in early February last year when Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny published an investigation drawing on her social media posts suggesting corrupt links between Deripaska and a top Kremlin official, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko.

The report featured photos from Deripaska's yacht in 2016, when Vashukevich claimed she was having an affair with him and recorded him.

First published on January 16, 2019

© 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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