News Brief

Belarussian Escort Hints of More Russian Meddling to Keep Her Silent

Belarusian escort Anastasia Vashukevich has published a tell-all book about seducing oligarchs, been in a Thai jail, and caused a corruption scandal in Russia. And that’s all before she became a secondary player in the Trump-Russia saga with titillating claims of alleged wrongdoing among White House insiders.

Now, Vashukevich is muddling the waters of the U.S. scandal again.

In an interview with CNN this week Vashukevich said she lied about her earlier statements linking Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska to the US presidential election. She said she did it to get media attention after being arrested in Thailand. If she hadn’t, she said, “maybe I would [be dead] now.”

But she isn’t done making waves. She also told CNN that, recently, after being extradited to Russia and freed from jail there, Russian authorities told her to keep quiet, saying: “Don’t touch Oleg Deripaska anymore.”

Vashukevich made global headlines in 2018, while in a Thai jail accused of prostitution. Her allegations that Deripaska might have been involved in alleged Russian interference with the 2016 US presidential election had some credence given the billionaire’s past business ties to Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager.

Her latest allegation of Russian threats seems intended to keep alive the suggestion that she might know some compromising information about powerful people after all. Perhaps about Trump. Perhaps about Deripaska, or even the Kremlin.

Last year, Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny unearthed Instagram video footage showing Vashukevich on Deripaska’s yacht with Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Prikhodko. Navalny claimed it was evidence of government corruption, and the Russian government blocked people from accessing Navalny’s video online.

Vashukevich has also written a book about her relationship with an unnamed billionaire, which prompted Deripaska to sue her for disclosing personal information.