Paul Whelan, a U.S. citizen who is also a citizen in the U.K., Ireland, and Canada, has been found guilty in Russia in a closed trial and sentenced to 16 years in prison for espionage. He had been arrested in Moscow in 2018 by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).

The verdict was read in a Moscow court on Monday as Whelan stood in the defendant’s cage holding a sign that read “Sham trial,” among other things.

The case against Whelan, a 50-year-old former U.S. Marine, has proven to be a contentious issue between Washington and Moscow, as secrecy has surrounded the case ever since Whelan’s initial arrest.

Shortly after his arrest, Russia’s FSB released in a statement that he had been detained while on a “spy mission.” They later produced evidence with a flash drive containing classified information that was seized from his hotel room.

Whelan denied all charges of espionage, maintaining that he was set up and that he was given a flash drive by a friend. He said that he thought the drive contained family vacation photos. In his closed trial, he entered a plea of not guilty.

The Russian government prosecution said that Whelan held the rank of “at least colonel” with the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. However, he was kicked out of the Marine Corps Reserves with a bad-conduct discharge with a rank of E-4.

Whelan enlisted in the Marine Reserves in 1994. He held the rank of staff sergeant with Marine Air Control Group 38 working as an administrative clerk and administrative chief. He was part of Operation Iraqi Freedom

After a court-martial conviction in January 2008 on multiple counts “related to larceny,” he was sentenced to 60 days restriction, reduction to pay grade E-4, and received a bad-conduct discharge. The specific charges against him included attempting to steal more than $10,000 in 2006 in Iraq and using a false Social Security Number to create a fake account on a government computer system to grade his own examinations.