Queen's Cousin, Prince Michael of Kent, Accused of Selling Access to Russian President Vladimir Putin

  • Prince Michael of Kent, a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, has been accused of offering to sell access to Russian president Vladimir Putin.
    • The allegations stem from a report by the Sunday Times of London, published after two undercover journalists posing as executives from a South Korean company recorded Prince Michael's friend and business associate Simon Isaacs, the Marquess of Reading, seemingly promising the royal could provide access to the Russian leader for a fee.
      • Prince Michael denies the claims. "Prince Michael has no special relationship with President Putin," a spokesperson for the royal said in a statement. "They last met in 2003 and he has had no contact with him or his office since then. Lord Reading is a good friend, who made suggestions which Prince Michael would not have wanted, or been able, to fulfill."

        Prince Michael of Kent, one of Queen Elizabeth II's first cousins, has been accused of offering to sell access to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

        A Sunday Times of London and Channel 4 report alleges that Simon Isaacs (whose title is the Marquess of Reading), a friend and business associate of the 78-year-old royal, appeared to suggest that Prince Michael could promise access to Putin during a Zoom call with two undercover journalists posing as executives from a fake South Korean company. While Prince Michael had been on the call initially, the alleged promises made by Isaac came after the royal had left the Zoom meeting.

        During the call, Isaacs described Michael as "Her Majesty's unofficial ambassador to Russia" and warned that the royal's involvement in facilitating access to Putin would be "confidential," according to a report from BBC News.

        "We're talking relatively discreetly here because we wouldn't want the world to know that he is seeing Putin purely for business reasons," Isaacs said, according to the BBC report. He also reportedly estimated that Prince Michael could charge clients around £50,000 for a five-day trip to Russia. What's more, according to the investigation, Michael allegedly offered to film a speech endorsing the company, using his home at Kensington Palace as the backdrop, for a reported $200,000 fee.

        In a statement to CNN, a spokesperson for Prince Michael vehemently denied the claims, saying, "Prince Michael has no special relationship with President Putin. They last met in 2003 and he has had no contact with him or his office since then. Lord Reading is a good friend, who made suggestions which Prince Michael would not have wanted, or been able, to fulfill."

        According to BBC News, Isaac said he had made a mistake and "over-promised" during the meeting and that he was "truly regretful."

        On Sunday, royal reporter Omid Scobie tweeted about the situation, explaining that the Palace has yet to comment on the scandal.

        "Though not officially a working member of the family, Prince Michael does carry out over 100 public duties and engagements a year, some of which include representing the Queen," Scobie added.

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