Belarusian Escort Says She Gave Evidence of Russian Election Interference to Manafort-Linked Oligarch

A Belarusian escort who claimed to possess materials for special counsel Robert Mueller's probe told a reporter in a Thai court Monday that she gave the evidence to Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska.

Nastya Rybka, whose real name is Anastasia Vashukevich, was arrested in Thailand in May for offering sex-training courses without a work permit. While the 21-year-old escort was waiting for her trial to begin, she claimed to have tapes of a yacht trip she took with top Russian official Sergei Prikhodko and Deripaska. She alleged that the two men discussed Russian attempts to meddle in the U.S. election in the recordings, and claimed to have around 16 hours of recordings of Deripaska and three unnamed Americans discussing the 2016 presidential election.

Observers considered the claim plausible because Vashukevich had already released one recording of Deripaska and the Russian government official Prikhodko, who is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, discussing the U.S. relationship with Russia. What's more, Deripaska is a longtime business partner of Trump campaign's former chairman Paul Manafort, who is currently being tried for financial fraud, money laundering and a host of other crimes. Manafort allegedly offered to give Deripaska private briefings about the Trump campaign.

Vashukevich asked that the U.S. extradite her from Thailand so that she could give her evidence to Mueller's team, which is investigating whether members of the Trump campaign collaborated with Russians to influence the election. She said her life would be in danger if she were extradited to Moscow. Reports later suggested that FBI officials had traveled to Thailand to attempt to meet with the escort, a sign that U.S. law enforcement was taking her claims seriously. However, a Thai official later claimed that the FBI had never gained access to the woman.

Detained Belarusian Anastasia Vashukevich, better known by her pseudonym Nastya Rybka, prepares to board a prison van after a court trial in Thailand on August 20. Krit Phromsakla Na Sakolnakorn /AFP/Getty Images

In court on Monday, however, Vashukevich told a reporter that she had given the tapes to Deripaska. When asked what exactly was on the tapes, she directed the reporters to the oligarch, with whom she was allegedly involved in a sexual relationship prior to the release of the tapes. She also claimed that Deripaska had bribed her for the tapes.

Deripaska recently won a lawsuit against Vashukevich in Russia. He had sued the escort for releasing photos and videos of the two of them together, and the court ordered Rybka pay him for moral damage. She is now pleading not guilty to charges of solicitation in Thailand.