Excellent reporting by ABC News – in addition to covering the latest developments regarding Prince, it delves into questions surrounding his ties to Russian oligarchs. If you’re pressed for time, here are some highlights (emphasis is mine):
- Prince’s testimony on the “Seychelles meeting” has been contradicted by the person who organized the meeting:
In April 2017, the Washington Post reported that Prince, whose sister Betsy DeVos is President Donald Trump’s education secretary, had traveled to the Seychelles in January following Trump’s election for a secret meeting with a Russian official with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Prince testified before the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in November that he hadn’t made the trip "to meet any Russian guy” and described his meeting with Kirill Dmitriev, the Putin-appointed head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, as a chance encounter “over a beer.”
ABC News reported earlier this year that Mueller has obtained evidence that calls that testimony into question. Lebanese-American businessman George Nader, a key witness given limited immunity by Mueller, told investigators that he set up the meeting in the Seychelles between Prince and Dmitriev. . .
- A Prince associate has challenged his denial of Russian business ties:
Prince had a simple answer when asked by Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from California, whether he ever had any “investments” or "business partnerships with Russian nationals."
"Zero," Prince replied.
. . . One former business associate, who has worked with Prince since the 1990s, recounted a recent conversation with FBI agents from Mueller’s office.
The associate said he told the agents about Prince’s previously undisclosed alliance with Dimitriy Streshinskiy, a former Russian special forces soldier turned arms dealer and manufacturer.
According to a 2015 interim report from an internal investigation conducted for the company by an outside law firm, a man named “Dimitry,” whom two sources later told ABC News was actually Streshinskiy, acted as Prince’s partner in an effort to secure a possibly illegal private security contract with Azerbaijan.
- A second Prince associate has reported another Russian business connection which only ended when U.S. sanctions were imposed:
According to the former associate, Rostec [a Russian state-owned energy firm] asked Prince’s Frontier Services Group to work on logistics for a proposed refinery operation in Tanzania and Uganda.
“Frontier Services Group was trying to build a relationship with Rostec to be the logistics guys,” the associate said, “and Rostec met with Erik.”
The article closes with a salient quotation from Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee:
"I have a lot of questions about whether he was being straight with us. I’m heartened to hear that the special counsel is doing what Republicans on the committee were not willing to do … and follow up and not take Mr. Prince at his word.”