A Belarusian model who claimed last year, after her arrest in Thailand, to have information on alleged ties between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia, was deported from the Southeast Asian nation Thursday, police said.
Anastasia Vashukevich and seven co-defendants had pleaded guilty Tuesday in a case related to holding a sex training seminar in Thailand without a work permit. The group was arrested almost a year ago in the seaside town of Pattaya – a popular spot for Russian tourists. Vashukevich and her co-defendants were convicted of soliciting and conspiracy and given suspended 18-month prison terms.
While in custody, Vashukevich claimed to have recordings of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska talking about interference in the 2016 U.S. election, but never released them.
Derispaska, a tycoon worth $5.3 billion, is reportedly close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and had a working relationship with Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, who was investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller and convicted last year of tax and bank fraud.
In the early stages of their detention, the “sex training group” sent a note to the U.S. Embassy seeking help and political asylum. Vashukevich said she would turn over the recordings she claimed to have if the U.S. helped secure her release but later retracted the offer. It was never clear whether the damaging information she claimed to have actually existed.
Deripaska was one of 24 Russian officials and tycoons faced with sanctions imposed by the United States last year as Washington stepped up its condemnation of Russia's actions in recent years, including its 2014 annexation of Crimea, support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, hacking attacks and meddling in Western elections.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.