A statement by the FSB identified the American in Russian, using a name that appeared to translate as Paul Whelan.
Mr Whelan, was arrested on Friday ‘while carrying out an act of espionage’, the FSB said.
The US citizen, named as Paul Whelan by the Russian FSB security service, was arrested in Moscow, pictured, ‘while carrying out an act of espionage’, the FSB said
A criminal investigation into espionage has been opened.
If he is charged with espionage and found guilty, Mr Whelan could be facing ten to 20 years in jail.
No other details were immediately available.
Russia is currently embroiled in a number of spy scandals with the West, from the alleged poisoning by Russian agents of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK, to the US conviction of Russian Maria Butina for acting as an illegal foreign agent.
Butina pleaded guilty to joining a conspiracy on behalf of the Kremlin to cultivate sources inside the Republican party before the 2016 presidential election earlier this month.
The 30-year-old pleaded guilty to one count of ‘conspiracy against the United States’ when she appeared at federal court in Washington D.C.
Russian citizen Maria Butina pleaded guilty to joining a conspiracy on behalf of the Kremlin to cultivate sources inside the Republican party before the 2016 presidential election
Butina said she acted at ‘the direction’ of a Russian official, who was not named in court, but previously has been identified as Alexander Torshin, a Russian politician close to Vladimir Putin and who is now subject to U.S. sanctions as well as being an alleged mafia money-launderer.
Together they worked on what was called the ‘Diplomacy Project’ using her boyfriend, conservative political operative Paul Erickson, 56, to help her as she tried to use his ties with the NRA to set up the back channels.
Butina appeared in federal court on Thursday 20th December, and is awaiting sentence
She managed to meet Donald Trump Jr., ask his father a question at an NRA-linked event, pose for pictures with top Republicans including Rick Santorum and Scott Walker, and organized a Russian delegation to the national prayer breakfast in Washington D.C in 2017.
She emailed her boyfriend that they were ‘coming to establish a back channel of communication’ – and he emailed another unnamed person saying that ‘reaction to the delegation’s presence in America will be relayed DIRECTLY’ to Vladimir Putin.
When she got senior members of the NRA to come to Moscow she emailed her handler: ‘We should let them express their gratitude now, we will put pressure on them quietly later.’
The agent faces up to five years in prison and deportation from the U.S. although she will not be sentenced until well into 2019, with her next hearing scheduled for February.
Denial: Putin has denied that Maria Butina worked for his government and has rejected claims that Moscow interfered in the 2016 elections
Putin, who claims Butina did not work for his government, has long denied Moscow meddled in the presidential campaign. U.S. intelligence agencies found Russia interfered.
Meanwhile, the investigation by Special counsel Robert Mueller into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia, and whether S President Donald Trump has obstructed said investigation, continues.
The evidence so far shows a broad range of Trump associates had Russia-related contacts during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition period, and that several lied about the communication.
There is also evidence that some people in the president’s orbit were discussing a possible email dump from WikiLeaks before it occurred.
American intelligence agencies and Mueller have said Russia was the source of hacked material released by WikiLeaks during the campaign that was damaging to Clinton’s presidential effort.
Trump has repeatedly slammed the Mueller investigation as a ‘witch hunt’ and insisted there was ‘NO COLLUSION’ with Russia.
‘NO COLLUSION’: President Donald Trump has called the probe into whether his campaign coordinated with Russia the ‘greatest Hoax in the history of American politics’ [sic]
On Saturday morning, the Trump took to Twitter to blast the Russia probe, calling it the ‘greatest Hoax in the history of American politics’ [sic], and boldly claiming that the Department of Justice and the FBI colluded with Moscow under the Obama administration.
The irate president tweeted: ‘The Russian Collusion fabrication is the greatest Hoax in the history of American politics. The only Russian Collusion was with Hillary and the Democrats!’
He then went further in his allegations, tagging Fox News’ Jesse Watters in his tweet, adding: ‘It turns out to be true now, that the Department of Justice and the FBI, under President Obama, rigged the investigation for Hillary and really turned the screws on Trump, and now it looks like in a corrupt & illegal way. The facts are out now. Whole Hoax exposed. @JesseBWatters.’