Top: Junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha meets Nikolai Patrushev, the former FSB chief who heads Russia’s security council, Wednesday at Bangkok’s Government House. Original photo: Government House. A photo of a letter appealing for American intervention by a group of Russians in Thai custody is inset.
BANGKOK — An associate of a group of Russians offering information about meddling in the 2016 US election said Wednesday afternoon that he delivered a letter on their behalf to the American Embassy in Bangkok as the leader of the ruling junta met with the head of Russia’s national security council.
Pavlo Yunko, whose attempt to sneak out the letter addressed to US Ambassador Glyn Davies was intercepted by Thai immigration authorities last night, said someone identifying himself as “John” came out and received the letter which promises “photo-video-audio” evidence of Russia’s illicit activities.
“He said that he would do everything possible to give the letter to his boss and there’s no guarantee,” Yunko told Khaosod English. “That’s about it.”
US Embassy spokesman Jillian Bonnardeaux declined to comment.
Yunko was one of several dozen participants who joined an “advanced sex class” offered in Pattaya last week by Russian “sex guru” Aleksandr Kirillov, aka Alex Lesley.
“It was awesome, everything was really fun,” Yunko said Tuesday night at the Pattaya immigration bureau, where Kirillov and nine others were detained two days after being arrested on the program’s last day. “Alex told me he wanted to celebrate.”
Kirillov and nine others were jailed Sunday and are offering the information in exchange for American help in keeping Thailand from deporting them back to Russia.
The Russian Embassy also declined to comment on the story Tuesday, but confirmed the facts of it in an email on Wednesday.
“To our knowledge 10 persons: 7 Russian citizens (with Aleksandr Kirillov (alias Leslie) among them and 3 from Belarus with Ms. Vashukevich (alias Rybka) among them were detained in Pattaya on February 25, 2018. They were charged with violation of Thai labour legislation and in accordance with the Thai immigration law will be fined and deported to their home countries in due course,” the consular section of the Embassy of Russia in Thailand wrote in an unsigned message.
Yunko said he wanted to help deliver the letter for fear that Thailand was being pressured into sending Kirillov and his associates back to Russia where they faced persecution. He described Kirillov as a “harmless” advocate of free love swept up by intrigue through his association with a social media provocateur named Anastasia Vashukevich.
The pair have caused a stir in Russia with a member of the State Duma saying the should “rot in a Thai prison” following revelations about her involvement with a Russian oligarch and deputy premier mixed up in the American investigation into election meddling.
At Government House, junta leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha met with Nikolai Patrushev, who heads Russia’s national security council. Patrushev has a long history in Russian intelligence, having served as director of the Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB, from 1999 to 2008 before taking his current post.
Though the details of their closed-door meeting were not disclosed, a Government House statement said they discussed a variety of anodyne topics including cooperation in tourism, business, cyber security and the security of Russian tourists. Patrushev has been engaged in shuttle diplomacy, traveling extensively in a bid to bolster the federation’s security partnerships, according to news reports.
Khaosod English saw the original handwritten letter by Kirillov on Tuesday night in Pattaya after Yunko briefly entered a conference room where the 10 Russian detainees were being held. Thai officials thought he was their lawyer and quickly pulled him out of the room.
After confiscating the letter, they later relented upon realizing they had a potentially explosive politically charged case on their hands.
“I have been repressed by Russia because I was participated [sic] in Navalny research. Based on our video he made the research about the connections between deputy minister [Sergei Prikhodko] and oligarch Oleg Deripaska, and had communication about US Relations with russia,” it reads. “Because of this a big political scandal appears and we run out of Russia [sic] to Thailand.”
The letter says they will trade further information Vashukevich gained from her relationship with Deripaska and association with Deputy Premier Prikhodko.
“We asked you political asylim [sic] sick and help us and protect us as quickly as possible, because we have very important information for USA and we risk our lifes [sic] very much,” it reads.
The letter continues to say they have “photo-video-audio of crymes [sic] of Russian government” obtained during Vashukevich’s one-year relationship with Deripaska.
“And I give them USA if you help us. … I asked protection from USA for this people,” it closes, followed by the signatures of Kirillov, Vashukevich and the eight others held by Thai immigration.
Full text of the letter unedited as written:
To USA Consul:
From Aleksandr Kirillov (Alex Lesley)
I have been repressed by Russia because I was participated in Navalny research. Based on our video he made the research about the connections between deputy minister Prikodko and oligarch Oleg Deripaska, and had communication about US Relations with Russia. Becauise of this a big political scandal appears and we run out of Russia to Thailand. But in Thailand we were catched by Thai police and now they want to send us back to Russia. We ask you political asylim and help us and protect us as quickly as possible, because we have very important information for USA and we risk our lives very much. Now I send to you this letter.
miss Nastya Rybka (Anastasiya Vashukievich…) was mistress Oleg Deripaska. He meet with him during one year and we have photo-video-audio of crymes of Russian goverment. And I give them USA if you help us. Now they send us to another prison. My friends know it and control everything. I ask protection from USA for this people:
Alex Lesley Aleksandr Kirillov
Anastasiya Vashukievich (Nastya Rybka)
Additional reporting Teeranai Charuvastra
Update: This article has been updated with a response from the Russian Embassy’s consular section.