Queen Elizabeth's Cousin Prince Michael of Kent Accused of Selling Access to Vladimir Putin
Indigo/Getty; Samir Hussein/WireImage Prince Michael of Kent and Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth's cousin has been accused of selling access to Russian President Vladimir Putin's regime.
Prince Michael of Kent was secretly filmed during a business meeting with two undercover reporters posing as investors from a fake South Korean business seeking contacts in the Kremlin, according to the Sunday Times of London, who conducted the investigation alongside Channel 4. Prince Michael, 78, allegedly offered his royal endorsement in exchange for a $200,000 fee, reportedly saying he'd use his home in Kensington Palace (where Prince William and Kate Middleton also live with their three children) as a backdrop for the recorded speech.
His friend and business partner Simon Isaacs, whose title is the Marquess of Reading, reportedly described Prince Michael as "Her Majesty's unofficial ambassador to Russia" during the Zoom meeting.
The Sunday Times also reported that Icaacs said Prince Michael would be prepared to help "open the door" for the phony company through contact with Putin.
"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 allegedly said.
Samir Hussein/WireImage Queen Elizabeth and Prince Michael of Kent
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A spokesperson for Prince Michael said in a statement, according to CNN: "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," the spokesperson added.
Max Mumby/Getty Princess Michael and Prince Michael of Kent
Prince Michael's maternal and paternal grandfathers are first cousins of Czar Nicholas II, and he has been visiting Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992, according to his website.
"I've traveled extensively around Russia for many different reasons, but mainly on business," the royal reportedly told the undercover journalists on a Zoom call.
Prince Michael speaks Russian and is the patron of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce.
"He is also closely involved with a number of charity, arts and humanitarian organisations in Russia, including The Children's Burns Trust and the St Gregory's Foundation, of which he is a particularly concerned and committed Patron," according to his website.
Anwar Hussein/WireImage Prince Michael of Kent at Trooping the Colour 2011
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Although Prince Michael of Kent has represented the Queen at official occasions, including the 150th anniversary of the Crimean War in Ukraine and joined the royal family at events like Trooping the Colour (the Queen's annual public birthday celebration in June), he does not receive any funding from the Sovereign Grant. He works as a consultant for business clients and his personal company, Cantium Services.