The family of the man who was arrested in Moscow on Friday on suspicion of being an American spy says he is innocent and was in Russia for a wedding.
Russian security services said on Monday Paul Whelan was arrested on espionage charges. Russian news agencies reported that if convicted he could face up to 20 years in prison.
On Tuesday, a statement released by the family via Whelan's brother, David, denied that he was involved in any kind of espionage.
"We have read the reports of the arrest in Moscow of Paul Whelan, our son and brother," the statement said. "Paul is a retired Marine and was visiting Moscow to attend a wedding." The family said they were "deeply concerned for his safety and well-being."
Speaking to Radio Free Europe, David Whelan said that his brother did have links to Russia and worked in corporate security for BorgWarner, an American supplier of car parts.
"Knowing that he's not dead, it weirdly really helps," Whelan told CNN. "When we couldn't get ahold of him initially, we were worried, and we are still worried now, but at least we know he is alive."
The Russian truck maker Kamaz, part of Rostec, Russia's state-controlled conglomerate, has worked with BorgWarner.
The US State Department said on Monday that it had been made aware of Whelan's situation and that it expected to be granted consular access as per the Vienna Convention.