Escort, 28, Who Claimed to Have Evidence of Russian Election Meddling Is Deported in Thai Sex Case

Sam Gillette

A “sex guru.” A Belarusian escort. And alleged secret recordings of even more secret conversations, whose existence was never proven.

A murky real-life political drama — not a movie plot — came to a close on Thursday as 28-year-old Anastasia Vashukevich was deported from Thailand, according to multiple news reports.

Vashukevich, also known as Nastya Rybka and alternately described as an escort and model, drew eyes around the globe after she pleaded with the U.S. for her freedom last year in exchange for recordings she claimed to have made that contained information about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Since Vashukevich’s arrest, none of these recordings has ever been substantiated and she later reportedly said she had made a deal not to share them.

Before she was taken into custody, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny released a report that included some of Vashukevich’s footage. It featured prominent aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko on his yacht in 2016, according to the Associated Press.

Last March, Vashukevich told CNN she allegedly had audio recordings of meetings between Deripask and unnamed Americans as well as photos that would provide information about Russia’s interference in the election.

Vashukevich claimed to have carried on an affair with Deripaska while working as an escort in 2016, which he has denied. (On her Instagram page, she describes herself as “Deripaska’s mistress” and the “next president of Russia.”)

What else Vashukevich may have recorded will most likely remain a mystery.

Anastasia Vashukevich

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Deripaska’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday. Vashukevich and others in the case could not be reached by PEOPLE.

She was first arrested last February along with a group of others — including the group’s leader, self-described “sex guru” Alexander Kirillov — while holding a seduction seminar in the Thai resort town of Pattaya.

Speaking with the Times from behind bars last spring, Kirillov said: “They know we have more information. They know she knows a lot. And that’s why they made this case against us.”

The U.S. intelligence community believes Russia sought to help President Donald Trump win the presidency. A special counsel is investigating whether Trump or his team conspired with the Russians in such efforts, which Trump has adamantly denied.

Deripask is reportedly a former associate of Paul Manafort, the president’s disgraced ex-campaign chairman, who was convicted of financial crimes in August and then pleaded guilty to conspiracy in a separate case.

Oleg Deripaska
Anastasia Vashukevich (center)

While Vashukevich and her co-defendants were initially accused of working without permits, their charges were upgraded in the spring to conspiracy, indecency and belonging to a secret society, which could have resulted in a 10-year sentence.

Authorities essentially accused them of running a prostitution ring via their sex classes, CNN reported.

And then on Tuesday they each pleaded guilty to solicitation and conspiracy and were sentenced to time served, according to the New York Times.

They are barred from ever returning to Thailand.

In August, Vashukevich told the AP that she gave her alleged tapes to Deripaska and promised her silence.

“He promised me a little something already,” she said. “If he do that then there will be no problem, but if he don’t …” she said with a smile, according to the AP.

She told a Russian media outlet she was happy to soon be free — at odds with her earlier concerns.

“I am afraid to go back to Russia,” Vashukevich said when she was first arrested, according to the Times. “Some strange things can happen.”