According to CNN, this idea was personally supported by Joe Biden. Moscow was handed the proposal a few weeks ago, CNN sources add The United States offered Russia to exchange Bout for Whelan and Greiner” />

Viktor Bout

The administration of US President Joe Biden offered to exchange businessman Victor Bout convicted in the United States for Paul Whelan, who is serving a 16-year sentence in Russia in the case of espionage, and basketball player Brittney Griner, CNN reports.

According to the channel, Biden supported the idea. The proposal was submitted to Moscow a few weeks ago, a CNN source says.

Greiner's lawyers Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boikov told RBC that they had learned about the possible US proposal from the news and clarified that they were not taking part in the negotiations. “From a legal point of view, an exchange is possible only after a court verdict. In any case, we will be glad if Brittney will be home soon, and we hope that this will happen, & mdash; defenders added.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken previously announced a telephone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Among other things, according to him, Washington will make an offer to Moscow for the return of Whelan and Greiner to the United States. Blinken declined to discuss the details of the proposal.

RBC turned to Booth's lawyer Steve Ziss and Whelan's lawyer Vladimir Zherebenkov for comment.

Russian businessman Viktor Bout was arrested in 2008 in Thailand. He was accused of illegal arms trafficking and support of terrorism (the United States believed that Bout intended to supply arms to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Army of the People, which they consider terrorist). Two and a half years later, Bout was extradited to the United States, where in 2012 the court sentenced him to 25 years in prison. Booth pleaded not guilty.

Read on RBC Pro Pro Stingy billionaire: how Gates, Buffett, Brin spend money in everyday life What is it and why is it dangerous Articles Pro Experts predict default in Turkey. What it means for RussiaIn June of this year, Steve Zissou said that it would be most honest to exchange his client for Brittney Griner. “Her crime is less serious than [the case of Paul] Whelan, who is accused of espionage, — the lawyer explained.— But in reality, the false narrative that Bout— “merchant of death”, and only recently some American journalists began to write the truth about Victor. So it's possible that Whelan will be included [in the exchange] even though he served a very small fraction of his sentence compared to Victor.

Paul Whelan was detained in Moscow in December 2018 on suspicion of espionage. Then he worked for the American company BorgWarner, which produced automotive parts. The case was heard behind closed doors, however, as it became known, the investigation believed that he was a career intelligence officer, collected secret information in Russia and tried to recruit employees of the FSB and the Ministry of Defense. Whelan denied his guilt.

In June 2020, the court found him guilty of espionage and sentenced him to 16 years in a strict regime colony.

American basketball player, two-time Olympic champion Brittney Griner was detained at Sheremetyevo airport in February. Vape cartridges containing hash oil were found in her hand luggage. She was prosecuted for drug smuggling.

In early July, she admitted that she was smuggling drugs, but stated that she had no intent to commit the crime, “because she was going in a hurry.” Her defense claimed that medical cannabis was prescribed to her by a doctor in the United States to relieve chronic pain.

Since 2015, Greiner has been playing for the UMMC club from Yekaterinburg. As part of the US team, she twice won the Olympic Games (2016, 2020) and the World Championships (2014, 2018).

In April, Russia exchanged American student Trevor Reid, who was in prison , against Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was serving a sentence in the United States.

Reed was convicted in Russia in the summer of 2020 for attacking police officers. He was given nine years in prison. Yaroshenko was detained in Liberia in 2010 on suspicion of drug smuggling. The pilot was extradited to the United States, where the court sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

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