Queen Elizabeth’s cousin Prince Michael of Kent was caught offering investors access to the Kremlin in return for personal gain, according to a Sunday Times and Channel 4 investigation.
The embarrassing claims come at a time of dire relations between London and Moscow, most notably after the 2018 poisoning of a former Russian spy in England.
Prince Michael told undercover reporters posing as South Korean investors in a virtual meeting that for £ 10,000 (€ 11,500) a day he could make “confidential” representations to those around the government. Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Channel 4’s Dispatches program and the weekly newspaper created a bogus South Korean gold company – House of Haedong.
The prince said he could also give the company royal endorsement in a speech recorded for $ 200,000 (€ 164,000), with his home at Kensington Palace as a backdrop.
In a taped meeting with undercover journalists, his business partner Lord Reading called the prince “Her Majesty’s unofficial ambassador to Russia.”
“I think… it’s a bit low-key, we’re talking relatively quietly here,” he reportedly said.
“Because we wouldn’t want the world to know that they see Putin just for business reasons, if you follow me. “
Reading used an event at Kensington Palace in 2013, in which the prince was a guest, to sell Putin access, investigators said.
The event also allowed for a personal meeting with the Russian leader at a later date.
Prince Michael’s office told the British Press Association he has no special relationship with Putin and “receives no public funding and makes a living from a consultancy company he has run for over 40 years. . “
“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 that Prince Michael would not or could not have accomplished. “
Reading admitted a mistake. “I made a mistake and over-promised and for that I really regret,” he said.
The 78-year-old prince was awarded the Order of Friendship of Russia in 2009 when Putin was prime minister.
“Royals for Hire” airs Monday on Channel 4.
© 2021 AFP