Prince Michael of Kent, who is Queen Elizabeth’s first cousin, has been accused of using his royal status to sell UK’s access to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An undercover investigation by Channel 4 Dispatches released on Sunday claimed Prince Michael was willing to use his royal status for personal profit and to seek favours from Putin.
In the release, the 78-year-old Prince allegedly told undercover reporters posing as investors from South Korea in a virtual meeting that he could be hired for £10,000 a day to make “confidential” representations to Putin’s regime.
The investigation was carried out by The Sunday Times reporters who set up a fake South Korean gold company called House of Haedong and approached five members of the royal family with an offer of a role.
Prince Michael responded by showing interest in working with the company, telling the undercover reporters that he would give House of Haedong his royal endorsement in a recorded speech for a $200,000 (£143,000) fee and was happy to use his home in Kensington Palace as a backdrop.
The programme said his business partner Lord Simon Reading had used an event at Kensington Palace in 2013, in which Prince Michael was a guest, to sell access to Putin.
The event, to promote the Russian wrestling sport of Sambo, also offered opportunities to personally meet the Russian leader at a later date.
In a recorded meeting with the undercover reporters, Lord Reading was quoted as saying:
“If he (Prince Michael) is representing the House of Haedong, he could mention that to Putin and Putin would find the right person who is interested in South Korea or interested in gold. It just opens the door, you know, which is so helpful.
“I think, if I can say this, this is kind of slightly discreet, we’re talking relatively discreetly here because we wouldn’t want the world to know that he is seeing Putin purely for business reasons, if you follow me.”
He went on to describe Prince Michael as “Her Majesty’s unofficial ambassador to Russia”, and that tension between the UK and the Russian regime has not affected his relationship with the Russian leader.
Responding to the programme, Prince Michael’s office said:
“Prince Michael receives no public funding and earns his own living through a consultancy company that he has run for over 40 years.
“Prince Michael has no special relationship with President Putin. They last met in June 2003 and Prince Michael has had no contact with him or his office since then.
“Lord Reading is a good friend, who in trying to help, made suggestions which Prince Michael would not have wanted, or been able, to fulfill.”
Prince Michael’s father, Prince George, was the fourth son of George V and the brother of George VI, the Queen’s father.
By Isaac Dachen
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