A self-described Belarusian sex coach who was entangled in a Russian political scandal has been cleared of charges she performed illegal work in Thailand, but will remain behind bars to face other charges that could put her in prison for up to 17 years, officials said Tuesday.
Anastasia Vashukevich, who says she had a brief affair with Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska, grabbed widespread media attention in February when she was arrested with nine other foreigners after Thai police raided their sex training course in Pattaya, south of Bangkok.
Police initially charged her and the nine others with working without a permit, but authorities early this month said all 10 had been charged with soliciting prostitution and conspiracy to form a crime syndicate. The two charges carry a combined maximum prison term of 17 years, legal experts said.
Three of the 10 foreigners were found guilty of working illegally and were each fined $100, police said. Two of the defendants have been deported, according to immigration officials, who declined to elaborate.
“I confirm that we have accused the remaining eight suspects with soliciting prostitution and conspiracy to form a crime syndicate,” Col. Apichai Krobpetch, chief of the Pattaya police station, told BenarNews by phone on Tuesday.
“Investigating officers have sought court permission for their remand and I hope we can file the case to the prosecutor within this week,” he said.
The 21-year-old Vashukevich, who has written a book about seducing billionaires, catapulted to fame in early February after Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny posted a 25-minute “ investigative report” on YouTube.
The video, which relies heavily on material from Vashukevich’s Instagram account, purportedly includes footage of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko, a longtime adviser to President Vladimir Putin, receiving lavish treatment on Deripaska’s yacht. Vashukevich and fellow detainee Aleksandr Kirillov are reportedly facing a lawsuit in Russia over the video.
Vashukevich, whose social media name is Nastya Rybka, describes herself as a model and sex coach. She has posted racy photos of herself online, including a few showing her cuddling with Deripaska.
Vashukevich and Kirillov appeared during the court hearing on Tuesday after being held incommunicado in an immigration jail in Pattaya.
The closed-door hearing was for the charge of working without a permit, which can carry fines and imprisonment of up to five years, legal experts said.
Apparently referring to the latest charges, Vashukevich yelled to reporters outside the court: “Because they close first case and open new one. For nothing. No evidence. Nothing.”