BANGKOK (Reuters) – A model of Belarus who was arrested during a "sex training seminar" in Thailand and who claimed to have evidence of Russian interference in the election of US president Donald Trump was deported on Thursday.
Anastasia Vashukevich, a Belarusian model and escort who caused a sensation last year after being arrested in Thailand and said she had evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, is represented in the immigration detention center before being deported to Bangkok, Thailand, 17 January 2019. REUTERS / Jorge Silva
The Thai authorities said that Anastasia Vashukevich, 27, two other Belarusians and five Russians were sent to their home countries two days after having pleaded guilty to charges including conspiracy and solicitation.
Vashukevich drew the world's attention last February when he said he had hours of audio recordings that could shed light on the ties between Russian officials and Trump elections in 2016.
She offered to release her records in exchange for asylum in the United States, but she never produced evidence to support her claim and later stated that she did not intend to release anything.
The head of the Thai emigration Surachate Hakparn told the media that all eight deportees are willing to return to their countries. The deportations were coordinated with Belarus and Russia, he said.
Vashukevich has not issued any comments at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. Last year he said he feared he would be sent to Russia.
Self-proclaimed "sex guru" Alexander Kirillov, 38, a Belarussian comrade among the deportees, told the media that the group had been looking for deportation since last March.
"If you've been in a Thai prison, you're not afraid of anything," he said.
They were arrested in the seaside resort of Pattaya during a seminar on seduction techniques.
Vashukevich, also known as Nastya Rybka, said he had recorded conversations about interference in the US elections through an association with the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. But representatives of Deripaska accused her of making and said she was never her lover.
Deripaska is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and is a former collaborator of the former Trump campaign director, Paul Manafort.
US intelligence agencies have concluded that Moscow tried to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election to increase Trump's chances of victory. Russia denied interference and Trump stated that no collusion took place.
Reporting by Juarawee Kittisilpa and Panu Wongcha-um; Editing by Matthew Tostevin and Nick Macfie