A Russian reality TV star and former Playboy model says that she was detained at Los Angeles International Airport on suspicions of being a Kremlin spy.
Victoria Bonya, a 37-year-old model and TV host who lives in Monaco and rose to fame after participating in the Russian reality TV show Dom-2 in 2006, wrote about her "endless day" in a February 23 Instagram post.
After she passed border patrol on her way to Los Angeles, customs officers allegedly pulled her aside and led her into a separate room for questioning.
“Instead of asking some real questions, the officer decided to talk about our president,” she wrote in a February 23 Instagram post. “Finding out everything about my position, he started talking about the KGB. [...] I started laughing, as I really thought it was a joke, until they asked me the same thing for a third time!’’
Once in the room, Bonya claims that officers searched her wallet and found a card of a company that specializes in hidden surveillance cameras that she received at a large technology market in Moscow.
"I thought that I would get deported right away," wrote Bonya. She says that she was released only after officers Googled her name and looked through her modeling photos on social media.
A well-known television personality in Russia, Bonya has more than 5 million followers on Instagram, where she posted photos of her shopping on Melrose Avenue and going to Ultimate Fighting Championship fights after her release.
In January, Bonya was among a group of Russian models that caused a stir when the management of a luxury resort in Dubai urged them to stop taking raunchy social media photos on their property.
A California representative of the Border Patrol and Air and Marine Operations said that LAX processes more than 35,000 people a day, but did not comment on the specifics of Bonya's case in time for publication. He later added a statement saying the agency treats "all travelers arriving in the country with professionalism, dignity and respect."
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