Prince Michael of Kent, left, is accused of selling access to Vladimir Putin, right, for personal profit.
Prince Michael of Kent allegedly used his status as a royal to sell access to the Kremlin, according to a joint investigation by The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches.
He is accused of selling access to Russia’s Vladimir Putin for large sums of money and offering up his Kensington Palace home as a backdrop for a royal endorsement, the investigation said.
Queen Elizabeth II’s first cousin was filmed during a Zoom meeting with undercover reporters who posed as businesspeople from a fictitious South Korean company. The undercover reporters claimed they were working for a gold investment company that was seeking access to contacts in Putin’s regime to further its business in Russia, The Sunday Times reported.
The prince assured them that his connections in Russia could “bring some benefit” to them and raised the fact that Putin had awarded him the prestigious Order of Friendship medal in 2009, the paper said.
The Marquess of Reading, a longtime business associate and close friend who was also on the call, then offered to provide access to Putin for £10,000 a day, or around $14,000, according to the report.
The marquess also told the undercover reporters that Prince Michael of Kent was effectively “Her Majesty’s unofficial ambassador to Russia” and had “confidential” access to the Kremlin, The Sunday Times said.
The prince was also said to be willing to give the company his royal endorsement, using his home in Kensington Palace as a backdrop, for around $200,000, Page Six reported.
At one point in the Zoom call, The Sunday Times said, the marquess allegedly added a note of caution. “This is kind of slightly discreet,” he said. “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.”
The Marquess of Reading responded to a request for comment from The Sunday Times. He said that he had “over-promised” and was “truly regretful,” the paper reported.
Prince Michael’s office has denied the claims against him. His spokesperson told the BBC that the marquess had “made suggestions which Prince Michael would not have wanted, or been able, to fulfil.”
The spokesperson added that “nothing could proceed” without the approval of the British Embassy and the help of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce.
He also denied that he had a “special relationship” with Putin and said that he had not been in contact with him for almost two decades, the BBC said.
Prince Michael of Kent is the paternal first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II and was a page boy at her wedding to Prince Philip. He is a grandson of King George V and Queen Mary and is currently 50th in line to throne.