Model in Russian court apologizes for US election claim

MOSCOW (AP) — A Belarusian model and self-styled sex instructor who last year claimed to have evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election said Saturday that she apologizes to a Russian tycoon for the claim and won't say more about the matter.

Anastasia Vashukevich made the statement in a Moscow court that was considering whether to keep her in jail as she faces charges of inducement to prostitution. The court extended her detention for three more days.

Vashukevich's statement appears to head off any chance of her speaking to U.S. investigators looking into possible collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump's campaign.

Vashukevich, who goes by the name Nastya Rybka on social media, was arrested in Thailand last February on prostitution charges. She and several others were arrested in connection with a sex training seminar they were holding in Thailand.

After her arrest she claimed she had audio tapes of Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska, who is close to President Vladimir Putin, talking about interference in the U.S. election.

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Russian model Anastasia Vashukevich
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Russian model Anastasia Vashukevich
Anastasia Vashukevich leaves the Pattaya Provincial Court in Chonburi province, Thailand, Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. Vashukevich, from Belarus, who claimed to have information linking Russian interference to the election of President Donald Trump says she no longer has the evidence and will not talk about it. On Monday she pleaded innocent as her trial in Thailand began on charges of soliciting and conspiracy to solicit. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Belarusian model Anastasia Vashukevich is escorted by Thai Immigration police officers from the Immigration Detention Center towards a vehicle to take her to an airport for deportation in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. Thai officials say they are deporting Vashukevich who claimed last year that she had evidence of Russian involvement in helping elect Donald Trump president. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Belarusian model Anastasia Vashukevich talks to journalists as she is escorted from the Immigration Detention Center towards a vehicle to take her to an airport for deportation in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. Thai officials say they are deporting Vashukevich who claimed last year that she had evidence of Russian involvement in helping elect Donald Trump president. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thai Immigration police officers escort Belarusian model Anastasia Vashukevich, center, from the Immigration Detention Center towards a vehicle to take her to an airport for deportation, in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. Thai police says it will deport Vashukevich who claimed that she had evidence of Russian involvement in helping elect Donald Trump as U.S. president after she pleaded guilty in a case related to holding a sex training seminar in Thailand. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Anastasia Vashukevich, also known on social media as Nastya Rybka, sits in a cage in the court room in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. A Belarusian model who claimed last year that she had evidence of Russian interference in the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president was arrested immediately upon her arrival in Moscow on Thursday following deportation from Thailand. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Anastasia Vashukevich, also known on social media as Nastya Rybka, center, is escorted in the court room in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. A Belarusian model who claimed last year that she had evidence of Russian interference in the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president was arrested immediately upon her arrival in Moscow on Thursday following deportation from Thailand. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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She had shot to world attention a few weeks earlier when a Russian opposition leader published an investigation based on her social media posts that suggested corrupt links between Deripaska and Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko. The report featured video from Deripaska's yacht in 2016, when Vashukevich says she was having an affair with him.

She was deported from Thailand on Thursday after pleading guilty and was detained when her flight arrived in Moscow, along with three other deportees including mentor Alexander Kirillov.

She told journalists in the Moscow court that she has apologized to Deripaska and says "I will no longer compromise him."

Deripaska is among the Russian tycoons and officials who have been sanctioned in recent years by the United States in connection with Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea. His business empire includes aluminum, energy and construction assets.

He also once was a client of Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager for Trump. Manafort was convicted last year in the United States of tax and bank fraud.

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