According to US, European and Arab officials, the United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian close to President Vladimir Putin in January in an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump, reports The Washington Post.
“Prince was an avid supporter of Trump. After the Republican convention, he contributed $250,000 to Trump’s campaign… He has ties to people in Trump’s circle, including Stephen K. Bannon… Prince’s sister Betsy DeVos serves as education secretary in the Trump administration” notes The Post.
The meeting took place in the Seychelles islands place nine days before Trump’s inauguration and was brokered in part to explore whether Russia could be persuaded to modify its relationship with Iran, an top objective of the Trump administration but one that would also likely require major concessions to Moscow on sanctions.
This encounter in Seychelles adds to an expanding web of secret connections between Russia and Americans with ties to Trump, connections the administration has repeatedly lied about until contradicted by factual reporting.