Paul Nicholas Whelan is a former United States Marine Corps with Canadian, U.S., British, and Irish citizenship.
Paul Whelan was born on March 5, 1970 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to British parents with Irish heritage.
He took courses at Northern Michigan University from fall 1988 to fall 1990 without earning a degree.
According to a deposition Whelan gave in 2013, he was in law enforcement from 1988 to 2000 as a police officer in Chelsea, Michigan, and a sheriff’s deputy in Washtenaw County.
Whelan served as an IT manager for the Kelly Services staffing company from 2001 to 2003, and 2008 to 2010. From 2010 to 2016 Whelan was Kelly Services’ senior manager of global security and operations.
Whelan enlisted in the Marine Reserves in 1994. He took military leave from Kelly Services to serve with the Marine Corps Reserve from 2003 to 2008, including service in Iraq. He held the rank of staff sergeant with Marine Air Control Group 38 working as an administrative clerk and administrative chief, and he was part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Following a court-martial conviction in January 2008 on multiple counts “related to larceny”, he was sentenced to 60 days restriction, reduction to pay grade E-4, and a bad conduct discharge. The specific charges against him included attempting to steal more than $10,000 in 2006 in Iraq and using a false Social Security number to create a false account on a government computer system to grade his own examinations.
He was arrested in Russia on December 28, 2018, and accused of spying.
When arrested in Russia, Whelan was director of global security and investigations for BorgWarner, an international automotive parts manufacturer based in Michigan. His work with Kelly Services and BorgWarner gave Whelan contact with law enforcement in many countries.
On June 15, 2020, Paul Whelan received a 16-year prison sentence with the possibility of time in a labor camp.