Russia's state security service says it has detained a USA citizen suspected of spying in Moscow.
The security agency referenced a section of Russia's criminal code dealing with espionage, but did not provide any information about the specifics of the charges involved.
Officials who work for Russia's domestic security agency reported late Friday, on Russian run state media, that they have arrested a USA citizen on espionage charges. Under Russian law, espionage can carry between 10 and 20 years in prison.
"I cannot understand what she could possibly have admitted, since she was not following any instructions from the Russian Government or its agencies", he said.
"We are deeply concerned for his safety and well-being".
"We have read reports of the arrest in Moscow of Paul Whelan, our son & brother. His innocence is undoubted and we trust that his rights will be respected", it added. Whelan's brother David Whelan released a statement on behalf of the family, saying that Paul, who served multiple tours in Iraq, was in Moscow to attend a wedding.
There was online speculation that Paul Whelan had worked for global staffing firm Kelly Services, which is headquartered about a 40 minute-drive from Novi in Troy, Michigan.
Paul Whelan has worked for BorgWarner since 2016, company spokeswoman Kathy Graham said.
That arrest was made at the behest of the United States, which is seeking the extradition of the executive, Meng Wanzhou, in relation to violations of USA sanctions on Iran.
The arrest comes days after Russian citizen Maria Butina pleaded guilty to conspiring to act as a secret foreign agent in the United States.
"There is only one aim: to hold back Russia's development as a possible competitor", he said.