Russian Escort Claims To Have Recordings That Prove Russian Meddling

Screengrab/Viral News/YouTube

Anastasia Vashukevich claims to have more than 16 hours of recorded audio related to Russian election meddling.

The Russian escort hoping for U.S. assistance in exiting a Bangkok jail said Monday that she has more than 16 hours of audio recordings that relate to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

The escort, Anastasia Vashukevich, said she would hand over the recordings if the United States granted her asylum. She faces criminal charges and deportation to Belarus after coming under suspicion of working in Thailand without a visa at a sex-training seminar in the city of Pattaya.

The recordings originate from time Vashukevich spent on the yacht of Russian oligarch Oleg V. Deripaska and deputy prime minister Sergei E. Prikhodko.

According to her version of events, she was working for a modeling agency when she and several other models were sent to spend time on Mr. Deripaska’s yacht. She later posted photographs and videos on social media showing Mr. Deripaska and Mr. Prikhodko together on the yacht.
In the interview at the immigration center on Monday, Ms. Vashukevich said that she had often recorded conversations between Mr. Deripaska and his associates, and that she had 16 to 18 hours of recordings, including conversations about the United States presidential election.

“They were discussing elections,” she said. “Deripaska had a plan about elections.”

Deripaska, who is close to President Vladimir Putin, also has ties to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Financial records show that companies controlled by Mr. Manafort owed millions of dollars to Mr. Deripaska. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Mr. Manafort offered to give Mr. Deripaska private briefings on the campaign.

Though it is difficult to ascertain the veracity of Vashukevich's claims about having recordings, her credibility is at least somewhat bolstered by video recordings she produced while aboard Deripaska's yacht.

Russian opposition figure Aleksei A. Navalny use the video, as well as photos he obtained from Vashukevich, in a YouTube post alleging attempted bribery:

Mr. Navalny charged in his video that Mr. Deripaska’s yacht trip was an attempt to bribe Mr. Prikhodko, and that Ms. Vashukevich was one of “several” prostitutes aboard the vessel. In the video, the tycoon and Mr. Prikhodko can be heard discussing Russian-American relations. The video also highlights a book Ms. Vashukevich wrote titled “Who Wants to Seduce a Billionaire.”

Whether Vashukevich will be able to seek asylum in the United States is undetermined.

A spokeswoman for the American Embassy in Bangkok said she was aware of the arrests but declined to discuss the case or any asylum request.

Both Vashukevich and Alexander Kirillov, the man who organized the sex seminar leading to their arrests, have voiced concern about returning to Russia, where Vashukevich said "strange things can happen".

Mr. Kirillov said that he believed publicity would help protect them. “I think the press makes us a little bit safer because if they killed us in the prison, everyone would know,” he said.