News Brief

Belarusian Escort Who Claimed She Had Evidence of Trump “Collusion” Deported From Thailand

The strange saga of a Belarusian escort who once worked for a close ally of President Vladimir Putin and threatened to reveal embarrassing evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia after she was put on trial for prostitution in Thailand has come to an end with the woman being convicted and deported.

It was a story with a tabloid plotline mixed with the whiff of international intrigue.

After being arrested in March 2018 for organizing “sex trainings” in the Thai resort town of Pattaya, Anastasia Vashukevich, who goes by the name Nastya Rybka, claimed she had audio recordings of the billionaire Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska — who has long ties with Putin — discussing the 2016 US election with associates.

After her arrest, the model and blogger asked the U.S. to extradite her in exchange for information and appealed to the Thai courts for permission to meet with FBI agents.

That was denied and after months of claiming their innocence, Vashukevich and seven other Russian and Belarussian citizens arrested with her unexpectedly switched their pleas to guilty in the last hours of the trial on Tuesday.

Suggestions that there might be a long trail from a Thai jail cell to the Oval Office came from Vashukevich’s past relationship with Deripaska, who has past ties with Trump’s now convicted former campaign manager Paul Manafourt. Deripaska has denied any connection with Vashukevich.

But she posted photos and videos from the billionaire’s yacht, and claimed to have hours of unreleased audio and video, including of Americans meeting on board with Deripaska.

The Russian government threatened to shut down access to Instagram and YouTube after they refused its request to close the model’s accounts last February.