The notorious Russian woman who accused former Gov. Eliot Spitzer of assaulting her was arrested Monday night after returning to the country and allegedly attempting to extort $50,000 from him.
Svetlana Travis, aka Svetlana Zakharova, was charged with grand larceny by extortion, accusing her of trying to shake down Spitzer following allegations that he attacked her at The Plaza Hotel. The disgraced governor denied the allegations at the time.
Details about the alleged extortion attempt were unavailable.
Travis was also charged with second-degree forgery in a separate case in which police said she used the information of a Bloomfield, New Jersey, man to sign a lease agreement that cost him $18,000.
Travis had known Spitzer, 56, “for a period of time” when the two met on Feb. 13 at The Plaza before she planned to return to Russia, his attorney Adam Kaufmann said at the time.
“They had a brief and amicable conversation, and then Mr. Spitzer left,” Kaufmann had said in a statement. She later called and asked him to return and was “highly emotional and was threatening self-harm," he added.
Travis attempted to cancel a 911 call she made saying she cut herself and was having a breakdown in the room the former governor had rented, police said. Kaufmann confirmed that Travis made the calls and that Spitzer “sought to keep her calm.”
The woman was taken to the hospital after police noticed a cut on her arm and broken glass in the room. She told doctors she had a relationship with Spitzer and he had assaulted her, officials said. She left for Russia the following night. Spitzer wasn't charged in the incident.
Travis is expected to appear Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court to face both charges. Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark is expected to handle to the case as Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance recused himself from the case in February, citing past personal and professional connections to Spitzer, the New York Daily News reported.
There was no information as to whether Travis had obtained a lawyer who could comment on the charges in her behalf.