US citizen Paul Whelan, arrested in Moscow on espionage charges, never traveled to Russia on business trips during his work at Kelly Services, where he had been employed for 15 years, the company's Communications Director Jane Stehney told Sputnik.

"Mr Whelan remained an employee of Kelly Services until 2016, inclusive of his leave for military service. We have no information to suggest that Mr Whelan ever traveled to Russia on Kelly business," Stehney said on Thursday, adding that Whelan started his employment with the company in 2001.

Whelan, 48, was detained during a "spy operation" in Moscow in late December on suspicion of espionage, according to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). On Thursday, a Moscow court ruled to arrest him on espionage charges. 

Whelan is currently employed as the director of global security with Michigan-based automotive components supplier BorgWarner. Moreover, Whelan was a former US marine. His service record, released by media, showed he had been convicted in 2008 on theft charges.

Media have reported, citing his brother, that Whelan went to Russia to attend a friend’s wedding but never made it to the event.