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Fireworks above the Kremlin in Moscow on Jan. 1. Photo: Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images

More peculiar details continue to come out about Paul Whelan, the former U.S. Marine arrested and charged with espionage while reportedly traveling to a wedding in Moscow last week.

Driving the news: Whelan, who is facing 20 years in a Russian prison, holds Canadian, British and Irish passports — a fact that threatens to drive a wedge between Russia and four Western countries that have now sought consular access. In 2006, Whelan was arrested for attempting to steal more than $10,000 of government money while on deployment in Iraq, the Washington Post reports. He was convicted and discharged for bad conduct in 2008.

  • According to The Daily Beast, Whelan's lawyer Vladimir Zherebenkov is "a former Soviet government investigator who has never before tried an espionage case involving a foreign citizen."
  • Zherebenkov told ABC News that Whelan intends to plead not guilty, but then said — unprompted — that the most likely outcome is a prisoner exchange. Security experts believe that prisoner could be Maria Butina, a confessed Russian agent who pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges last month, and that Zherebenkov was appointed by Russia’s domestic security agency to negotiate Butina's release.

Go deeper: American detained in Russia visited by U.S. ambassador

Go deeper

4 hours ago - Technology

Facebook changes corporate name to Meta

Screen shot of CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the company's "Connect" virtual event

CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday said the social media giant is renaming its company Meta.

Why it matters: The effort is meant to shift its image from a social media platform to a “metaverse” company that focuses on building virtual work and social communities.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Filings show Sweetgreen isn't profitable, despite claims

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Restaurant chain Sweetgreen on Monday filed to go public, and revealed that it lost money in each year since 2014.

Why it matters: The company lied when it repeatedly told reporters it was profitable.

U.S. border cities again see low violent crime rates

Expand chart
Data: FBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Reported violent crime in the United States rose in 2020 for the first time in four years, but violent crime rates in 11 of the largest communities along the U.S.-Mexico border stayed below the national average, an Axios analysis found. 

Why it matters: Year after year, data showing low violent crime rates in majority-Mexican American and Mexican immigrant border communities dispels myths of the U.S.-Mexico border as a region filled with crime and chaos.

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