Woman Who Accused Eliot Spitzer of Assault Arrested for Allegedly Trying to Extort $50,000 from Ex-Governor
Svetlana Zakharova, Spitzer's accuser, was arrested and charged with grand larceny by extortion, a New York Police Department spokesman tells PEOPLE
A Russian woman who accused former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer of assaulting her in a hotel room in February was arrested Monday for allegedly trying to extort money from him, PEOPLE confirms.
Svetlana Zakharova, 26, was arrested just after 7 p.m. at an airport and charged with grand larceny by extortion, a New York Police Department spokesman tells PEOPLE. Zakharova had left the U.S. after making her assault accusation and was returning upon her arrest, according to the Associated Press.
The police spokesman did not say how much she allegedly tried to extort from Spitzer, but ABC New York reports the figure as $50,000.
Spitzer’s attorney, Adam Kaufmann, told the AP that in February, the woman called Spitzer from California, where she had been living, to say she was returning to her native Russia via New York City. The two agreed to meet at the Plaza Hotel in N.Y.C. and had a “brief and amicable conversation” before Spitzer left, Kaufmann told the AP.
Law enforcement officials with knowledge of the investigation told the AP that Zakharova allegedly called Spitzer a few hours later in a panic, begging him to return to the hotel room and threatening to harm herself.
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She allegedly called police who arrived to find her with a cut to her arm, the AP reports. The officers took the woman to a hospital where she allegedly told doctors that Spitzer had shoved and choked her.
No charges were filed against Spitzer. In a statement to PEOPLE, Spitzer’s spokeswoman Lisa Linden said “there is no truth to the allegation.”
According to The New York Times, Zakharova allegedly later recanted her story and apologized to the former governor.
She was also charged with forgery on Monday night for allegedly signing a lease under a man’s name without permission, according to the NYPD spokesman.
“As a result of this unauthorized action, the victim is being continually harassed by collection agencies for the lease amount of $18,000 in back rent,” the NYPD spokesman says.
Zakharova is expected to appear in Manhattan Criminal Court on Tuesday. She has not entered a plea and information about her attorney was not immediately available.
Spitzer served as governor of New York from 2007 to March 2008. He resigned from office after it was revealed he had patronized sex workers. He was named as a client in a prostitution ring investigation but was not charged.
In 2013, Spitzer and his then-wife Silda announced that they were ending their 26-year marriage.