Family of Novi man held in Russia optimistic about possible prisoner swap

Whelan arrested in December

Paul Whelan may be involved in a prisoner swap.

MOSCOW – A Novi man accused of spying in Russia has been held in Russian custody for six months and there's renewed talk that he could be used in a prisoner exchange.

Paul Whelan was arrested in December. He worked in security for BorgWarner Inc. and said he was in Moscow for a friend's wedding.

Russia's deputy foreign minister is on record proposing a swap that would give unnamed American prisoners their release in return for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot convicted of drug smuggling.

READRussian official suggests swapping Russian pilot for Novi man accused of spying

"My personal safety has been threatened. There are abuses and harassment that I'm constantly subjected to. There is a case for isolation. I have not had a shower in two weeks. I can't use a barber. I have to cut my own hair. I can't have medical treatment. I can't have dental treatment," Paul Whelan said.

Whelan's brother, David Whelan, has been talking to Local 4 and said his concern all along has been the state department has been interested, but only to a point.

"My sister met with Ambassador John Bolton and so we know it had gotten to that level that they're aware of Paul's issue. So we're assuming it's being spoken about at Secretary Pompeo's level, perhaps at President Trump's level. To not have a public statement of support that Paul is wrongly detained in Russia is hard to bear," David Whelan said.

Watch the video above for the full report.

About the Author:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.