American detained in Russia speaks with US consular officials

Details released on American arrested for espionage in Russia

(CNN) - U.S. authorities have spoken to an American detained in Russia, his twin brother told media sources.

Russia said they have granted U.S. consular officials access to Paul Whelan, 48, who was arrested in Moscow on Friday on suspicion of carrying out an act of espionage, CNN reported.

His brother David said that this happened Wednesday.

His family denies the espionage claim, saying he was in the country for a wedding.

During an earlier press conference in Brazil, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that a meeting with Whelan could come sometime on Wednesday.

“With respect to Mr. Whelan, who’s being held, we are hopeful within the next hours, we will get consular access to see him and get a chance to learn more. We’ve made clear to the Russians our expectation that we will learn more about the charges, come to understand what it is he’s been accused of and if the detention is not appropriate, we will demand his immediate return,” Pompeo said.

Whelan is a corporate security director for a Michigan-based company who has traveled to Russia many times.

He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Pompeo hopeful US can talk to man detained in Russia

Copyright 2019 CNN. All rights reserved. Gray Television Group LLC contributed to this report.