In a report published Saturday, first cousin to Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Michael of Kent, has been accused of offering to sell access to Russian President Vladimir Putin in exchange for money.
The Hill reports that an investigation conducted by British news outlets Channel 4 and the Sunday Times was looking into allegations that Michael and his business associate Simon Isaacs were "secretly trading on their links to the notorious Russian regime of President Putin."
For the investigation, two undercover reporters pretended to be South Korean executives seeking Michael’s help with their fake gold investment company, which they named the "House of Haedong." Michael talked about his connection to Russia, saying that it could "bring some benefit," adding that he was once awarded the esteemed Order of Friendship by the Russian presidency.
The Hill reports that the executives offered Michael $200,000 for a speech and a monthly payment of $50,000 to be an adviser on the House of Haedong's interests in Russia, and that he "reacted positively" to the offer. Michael’s private secretary also reportedly told them that he can introduce them to people high up in the Russian government, saying that "[T]here is always a way in." Isaacs then allegedly told the reporters that Michael was "Her Majesty’s unofficial ambassador to Russia."
Michael’s office told The Guardian that he had no "special relationship" with Putin, having last met and had contact with him in 2003. Isaacs added that "I thought the approach from the House of Haedong was genuine and I was only trying to facilitate an introduction to my friend Prince Michael. I made a mistake and over-promised and for that I am truly regretful. I wasn’t at my peak as I was recovering from a kidney transplant."
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