Anastasia Vashukevich in an image posted to Instagram in March 2017 purportedly taken in Pattaya. Photo: Nastya_rybka.ru / Instagram
BANGKOK – A Belarusian call girl-turned-author who says she recorded more than a dozen hours of conversations between a Russian oligarch she had an affair with and other powerful political figures previously detailed the recordings in a book.
Before Anastasia Vashukevich shed new light on her claims to have evidence of Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 US election in comments to reporters at Bangkok’s Immigration Detention Center she wrote about them in her book “Who Wants to Seduce a Billionaire.”
“She said she has hours of recordings, 18 or 16 hours worth,” Ukrainian-American Pavel Yunko said Tuesday of his visit to see her behind bars the day before. “She said she recorded lots of stuff with Oleg Deripaska and others talking about politics and Russian influence into the US election.
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Vashukevich, whose social media expose last year of her affair with billionaire Deripaska has provoked a furious Kremlin response, is being held there with nine other foreigners arrested late last month for holding an “advanced sex training” class led by a a Russian “sex guru.”
Reporters have been blocked since Monday afternoon from speaking to Vashukevich after a wire service reporter snuck a camera in to take photos at the tightly controlled facility, a source at the detention center said Tuesday on condition of anonymity.
The source said an order had come from high in the Foreign Ministry to prevent further access to the woman.
After this story was published, two news agencies present at the time – New York Times and Associated Press – reached out to insist they were thoroughly searched and did no such thing.
Yunko said he had no further details on where the alleged recordings were being kept other than to say that Vashukevish indicated they were stored somewhere.
“She has them on some device,” said the 32-year-old New Yorker, who traveled to Pattaya as a fan of free-sex advocate Alex Lesley, who led the class and is also in Thai custody.
Alex Lesley – whose real name is Aleksandr Kirillov – was arrested alongside Vashukevich and other “instructors” in Pattaya on Feb. 25. They were charged with working in Thailand without a permit.
Police maintain they arrested the group based on complaints from one of the class participants who reportedly said the lesson cost was not worth it.
Though Vashukevich’s motive of getting out of Thai detention and avoiding deportation may be self-serving and her claims as outlandish as her persona online, there are intersections of truth that make them impossible to ignore.
Foremost is Moscow’s response to her revelations after they were publicized last month by opposition leader Alexei Navalny. His YouTube video about it was quickly banned in Russia along with most of his online platforms that disseminated it.
Russia followed up by threatening to outright ban YouTube and also Instagram, where Vashukevich posted videos and photos of her with Deripaska, a deputy prime minister and other figures on several sexual encounters on a yacht with a revolving door of other powerful figures, including Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko. Prikhodko is seen on the boat in some of her photos.
Another intersection is that her claim to have recorded extensively what was said on the yacht isn’t newly made.
Vashukevich went into extensive details of her surreptitious recordings in a book she wrote called “Who Wants to Seduce a Billionaire.”
Writing as Nastya Rybka, she claimed the book to be a true account of real events. Part how-to guide and part “50 Shades,” the book details her training in seduction by sex guru Lesley, whose real name is Aleksandr Kirillov, and subsequent interactions with ultra-wealthy and powerful men.
In the book, the character “Ruslan” stands in for Deripaska.
According to the official English translation of the book obtained by Khaosod English, she routinely recorded conversations to write about what happened afterward, and in one passage recounted being caught by Ruslan.
“He took my phone and pressed a button. It was recording for Alex. And he saw it. How could I be so stupid! My heart jumped into my throat.
“I knew I had to think up a story quickly, like we were taught in training. When you’re in a difficult situation the most important thing is to give a normal explanation, quickly and naturally.
“Otherwise I’d be thrown off the yacht to fed to the crabs and cod! ‘Who are you recording?’ he asked severely.
Here’s the full excerpt from the book:
“He sat on the bed and asked: “Do you have any music on your phone?” “I’m not sure.” He took my phone and pressed a button. It was recording for Alex. And he saw it. How could I be so stupid! My heart jumped into my throat. I knew I had to think up a story quickly, like we were taught in training.
When you’re in a difficult situation the most important thing is to give a normal explanation, quickly and naturally. Otherwise I’d be thrown off the yacht to fed to the crabs and cod! “Who are you recording?” he asked severely. “Oh my god, it’s recording? Damn you’ve ruined my book now!” I grab the phone. “I’m making a recording for a friend because we’re writing a book together. I was just dictating something and forgot about it. Did you switch it off? Oh that’s just perfect!
There was three hours already recorded. Dammit, I have to delete it now. I can’t send my friend a recording of some guy tearing off my panties. How could you?” I said, quickly erasing the recording. The best defense is attack, so I managed to immediately turn it around on him! “What’s the book about?” It seemed to be working! He appeared to be convinced. “About a girl who turns herself and her life around. She is dumped by her boyfriend who she loved very much, and thanks to the experience she turns into a completely new person. From a bad initial situation comes a positive result. That’s what we’re writing about,” I said seriously.
The most important thing is to tell at least a little bit of truth. I am writing this book, aren’t I? I just didn’t mention that I’m writing it about him!
“Ah, I see,” he laughed. “So you should have kept the panties part! Your girlfriend would have enjoyed it.” It was a dilemma. If I didn’t delete the recording, he might hear it and realize what I was up to. No invented story could have saved me. So the recording went in the trash, pity though it was. His trust and opinion was more important.
Vashukevich and Kirillov have asked for help obtaining American asylum in return for disclosing more information. Yunko said no American officials have been in contact.
The New York Times reported Sunday that the US State Department has spent nothing of of USD0 million “allocated since late 2016 to counter foreign efforts to meddle in elections or sow distrust in democracy.”
Update: This story has been updated to reflect reporters from New York Times and Associated Press denying they took a camera inside to take photos as alleged by a source at the detention center.
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