Bangkok (CNN)A self-styled sex coach who claims to have insider knowledge of Moscow's attempts to meddle in the US election has been charged with prostitution in Thailand.
Sex coach who claims to have US election dirt charged with prostitution
Anastasia Vashukevich made headlines last month when she publicly asked the United States to help free her from a Thai detention center in exchange for information on alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Col. Apichai Krobpetch, the chief of the Pattaya Police Station, said the Belarus-born Vashukevich and friends she was detained with were charged after an individual came forward with evidence against the group.
Krobpetch said the evidence from the individual, whom he refused to name, was strong enough that authorities could now pursue charges that Vashukevich had arranged sexual activities in return for payment.
If found guilty, she could face two to six years in prison and a fine of up to 40,000 baht ($1,280). Vashukevich has not yet appeared in court in relation to the charge so has not entered a plea.
Vashukevich, who goes by the name Nastya Rybka on her social-media accounts, was part of a group led by author and free sex advocate Alexander Kirillov arrested in February in the Thai resort town of Pattaya while running so-called sex training sessions. She has not yet entered a plea.
Thai police previously confirmed they were processing paperwork to deport the two back to Russia on charges relating to visa violations. The pair denied the charges. If they do not receive prison time, they will be deported once legal proceedings conclude.
Vashukevich claims to be the former mistress of Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, an ex-business associate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
She told CNN from the detention center last month that she witnessed several meetings in 2016 and 2017 between Deripaska and at least three unnamed Americans. She refused to name them but said she had photographs of one of the Americans and more than an hour of audio recordings.
Vashukevich and Kirillov told CNN they were afraid to reveal potentially compromising information in the event they are deported back to Russia.
A highly placed source at Thailand's Immigration Bureau told CNN last month that the FBI tried to meet with the group last month but was turned away.
Deripaska -- who denies any affair -- is a subject of political intrigue in US political circles, owing to his links with Manafort. The aluminum baron has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and was recently included on a US Treasury Department list of Russian government officials and 96 oligarchs with a net worth of $1 billion or more.
When he was confronted by CNN last year, Deripaska called allegations that he may have been a back channel from the Kremlin to the Trump campaign "fake news."
Regarding his alleged relationship with Vashukevich, a representative for Deripaska told CNN last month: "This is clearly an attempt by Anastasia Vashukevich (aka Nastya Rybka) to politicize the accusations of the Thai police. There have been endless fictitious stories told by her, all serving to distract the public from real violations, including very serious breaches of law of many countries."