A Belarusian model who claimed to have evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election has apologized to a Russian tycoon as she also proclaimed her innocence of prostitution-related charges against her.
Anastasia Vashukevich, who is also known as Nastya Rybka, told reporters in the Nagatinsky district court in Moscow on January 19 that she was “not guilty of what I am accused of” and pledged not to “compromise” Russian billionaire businessman Oleg Deripaska.
She previously said she had audio of the tycoon talking about Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election.
The Moscow court ruled that her detention would be extended by three days, until January 22, as the charges of involvement in prostitution against her and her mentor, Aleksandr Kirillov, are investigated.
“Guys, please pass my apologies to Oleg Deripaska and [Russian politician and former Deputy Prime Minister] Sergei Prikhodko,” she told reporters in the courtroom. “I am very sorry that everything happened that way. I am sincerely ashamed of what happened. I do not want to aggravate [the situation] so I personally apologize to Oleg [Deripaska]. All this was in order to attract his personal attention, nobody else’s, only his.”
Vashukevich was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on January 17 after being deported from Thailand, where she had spent about nine months in prison on prostitution charges.
Also detained in Moscow was Kirillov, a self-styled Russian sex guru also known as Alex Lesley, and two others, named by Interfax as Andrei Zhezhka and Maria Zharkova.
Vashukevich gained worldwide attention in February 2018, when Russian anticorruption activist Aleksei Navalny published an expose appearing to show then-Russian Deputy Prime Minister Prikhodko off the coast of Norway on a yacht belonging to Deripaska.
Navalny’s report, which drew on photographs and video that Vashukevich published on Instagram in 2016, appeared to show Prikhodko being offered lavish treatment on Deripaska’s yacht. The two also appear to discuss U.S. politics.
Vashukevich, who was pictured on the yacht with the two men, says she had an affair with Deripaska.
Vashukevich and Kirillov made international headlines again when they asked for asylum in the United States while detained in Thailand.
Vashukevich claimed that she could reveal details about Russia’s alleged meddling in the U.S. election with hours of audiotapes as evidence.
Deripaska, one of several Russian tycoons hit by U.S. sanctions, was once an associate of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who was convicted last year in the United States of tax and bank fraud.
Vashukevich has more than 120,000 followers on Instagram and has authored a book about seducing oligarchs.
But she and Kirillov face other legal problems in Russia as Deripaska won an invasion of privacy lawsuit against the two in July over the video that showed Deripaska vacationing with Prikhodko.
Deripaska is among the Russian tycoons and officials who have been sanctioned in recent years by the United States in connection with Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. His business empire includes aluminum, energy, and construction assets.
With reporting by AP, Interfax, and TASS