BorgWarner executive arrested for spying in Russia

Well-known automotive parts manufacturer BorgWarner has confirmed that its head of security has been arrested by Russian security services. Various news sources report that Paul Whelan was arrested on spying charges.

BorgWarner Inc’s headquarters did not hear the news directly. Rather the company reportedly learned of the arrest of Paul Whelan by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) from news reports published on the 31 December 2018.

Writing in a statement on the matter, BorgWarner executives confirmed both that Whelan is an employee and that he was arrested at the end of 2018: “We can confirm that Mr. Whelan currently serves as the company’s director, global security. He is responsible for overseeing security at our facilities in Auburn Hills, Michigan and at other company locations around the world.” BorgWarner does not have any facilities in Russia.

Commenting on its involvement in the case, BorgWarner said it “has been in contact with the relevant US Government authorities in order to help our employee and the US government”, before referring further enquiries to the state department.

According to BBC News, Whelan, of Novi, Michigan, was born in Canada to British parents and has UK citizenship. He moved to the US as a child. Irish broadcaster RTE suggest Whelan also holds an Irish passport and has sought Irish consular assistance.

The BBC also quoted military records as showing Whelan joined the US Marine Reserves in 1994 and deployed with the marines for the two tours of duty in Iraq – in 2004 and 2006 respectively.

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