Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine, who was arrested in Moscow at the end of last year, arrives for a hearing in a court in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 22, 2019.
Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine, who was arrested in Moscow at the end of last year, arrives for a hearing in a court in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 22, 2019.

MOSCOW - A Moscow court on Friday extended the detention for the American arrested at the end of December for alleged spying.

Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine, was detained in a Moscow hotel at the end of December. His arrest raised speculation that he could be swapped for one of the Russians being held in the United States. Whelan's lawyer said his client had been handed a flash-drive with classified information that he had been unaware of.

The court in Moscow ruled to keep Whelan, who arrived in court under escorted by a masked man, behind bars for another three months pending the investigation.

Whelan has not been formally charged yet but spying charges in Russia carry up to 20 years in prison.

Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine, who was arrested in Moscow at the end of last year, right, looks through a cage's glass as his lawyers talk to each other in a court room in Moscow, Russia, Jan. 22, 2019.
Russian Lawyer: Suspected US Spy Had Classified Material on Him
The lawyer for an American man being held in Moscow on suspicion of spying said on Tuesday that his client was given a flash drive containing Russian "state secrets" before he was arrested, but did not know he had them and had not looked at them.His family insisted that he was entrapped and denied that he is guilty of espionage.Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine, was detained in Moscow at the end of December.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy complained that Russian authorities are not letting Whelan sign and hand over a waiver that would allow consular officials to release more details about his case.

The embassy said it is the first time that the Russian Investigative Committee is not allowing a U.S. national in a Russian jail to pass on a signed privacy waiver form.

“Why is this case any different? Consular access without being able to do true consular support is not real access,” U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Andrea Kalan said on Twitter.