Busted escort thrusts city into middle of Trump-Russia scandal
A seemingly ordinary, by Pattaya standards, arrest of 10 Russians for running a “sex training” course without work permits has dragged Pattaya back into the world spotlight after an escort and model swept up in the raid claimed she had information that shows Donald Trump colluded with the Russian government to win the U.S. presidency.
Belarusian Anastasia Vashukevich, who goes by the name Nastya Rybka, claimed to have photographic and video evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Specifically, she says the evidence relates to ties between her married lover, Russian aluminum oligarch Oleg Deripaska, and Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman now facing charges from Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating claims of Trump-Moscow collusion.
Deripaska is close friends with Russia’s powerful deputy prime minister, Sergei Prikhodko, who was seen in a 2016 video posted on YouTube last month sailing with Deripaska and Vashukevich on his yacht. The self-admitted sex worker, Instagram model and blogger later described their meeting in a book.
Claiming her life would be in danger if she is deported back to Russia, Vashukevich – who traveled to Thailand on a Russian passport – said she would tell all to U.S. investigators if America grants her asylum and gets her out of the Bangkok Immigration Detention Center. As of March 4, Washington wasn’t interested.
Aleksandr Kirillov, the self-styled “sex guru” who goes by Alex Lesley and who also was arrested in the raid, said a letter requesting asylum was delivered to the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok Feb. 28.
All 10 are charged with working illegally in Thailand and eventually will be deported. Kirillov’s assistant, a Russian expat living in Pattaya, additionally was charged with overstaying her visa.
Five “instructors” arrested will be deported but the five organizers, including Kirillov and Vashukevich, will also face criminal charges. However, immigration officials have told Thai media the Russians may spend considerable time at the detention center, as they must fight the legal charge and can appeal the deportation order.
The Russians’ arrest put the salacious side of Pattaya back on full display for the world, with details of the sexual-techniques course playing out in a hotel conference room in virtually every major newspaper and website around the globe.
The course covered activities in bed, how to achieve longer lovemaking sessions, various sexual positions and also how to hook up with rich men. Police said 40 women accompanied the instructors to Koh Larn on Feb. 25 and a video of the trip was posted online with a caption saying the course would resume in Pattaya the next day.
Many of the 33 attendees rounded up in the raid were wearing t-shirts saying “sex animator” and were to be given certificates at the end of the seminar for successfully mastering the sexual techniques. Students reported the course cost anywhere from 20,000-45,000 baht.
The hotel management told international media they were unaware of the contents of workshop, as the room was booked for a “seminar and training”.
All the Eastern European attendees were released without charge following visa checks.