Blackwater founder Erik Prince details meeting with Russian in Seychelles

Remigio Civitarese
Dicembre 7, 2017

Representatives for the United Arab Emirates were said to have arranged the meeting in the Seychelles islands. The Washington Post originally reported that Prince was acting on the Trump campaign's behalf at the meeting.

Prince donated to Trump's campaign, made multiple visits to Trump Tower in NY and said he wrote some foreign policy memos for the Republican candidate, which he delivered to Trump campaign manager Steve Bannon. He also said he had interacted with Trump and other members of the campaign and transition teams.

Prince was called to testify because of the Seychelles meeting on January 11, 2017, which The Washington Post later described as an effort to connect the incoming Trump administration with Moscow. He said he had previously known those people. His military contracting company, Blackwater, has been under severe scrutiny over potential war crimes committed by its employees in Iraq.

As the meeting was ending, someone suggested he meet with Kirill Dmitriev, a Russian banker who was in the area, according to the testimony. He said, you should meet him.

When asked why Abu Dhabi's crown prince may have reached out to Prince after not having contact with him for some time, Prince said, "I think the Obama administration went out of their way to tarnish my ability to do business in the Middle East, and with a different administration in town, they probably figured that that downdraft wasn't present anymore". They met and discussed oil and commodity prices and trade between Russian Federation and the United States, he testified.

Prince also said he did not remember when or where he had a conversation with White House chief strategist Steve Bannon in which Bannon told Prince he had met MBZ in NY in December, just weeks before Prince traveled to the Seychelles.

Prince responded by telling Dmitriev that "if Franklin Roosevelt could work with Josef Stalin to defeat Nazi fascism, certainly the United States could work with Vladimir Putin to defeat Islamic fascism".

Prince in November told lawmakers probing Russian interference in the USA election that he met with Kirill Dmitriev, the head of a Russian sovereign wealth fund under US sanctions since 2015, for less than 30 minutes over a beer at the suggestion of Emirati royalty, whose invitation was the basis for his trip to the luxury islands.

Prince said he had discussed U.S. -Russia relations with Dmitriev, but only in the broadest terms.

At the time, The Post reported that the meeting was part of an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and then-President-elect Trump. It's 5:30. I haven't been home in a week.

Schiff on Wednesday called for the committee to subpoena Prince to testify on what the intelligence officials told him.

On his way out, Prince told reporters that Schiff should apologize for "wasting all of our time, for wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on a meaningless fishing expedition".

While the Washington Post, which broke the news of the meeting, reported that Prince presented himself as an "unofficial envoy for Trump", Prince testified that the principal objective of his visit to the island nation was an invitation to meet with members of the United Arab Emirates' royal family, one of whom casually suggested he meet with Dmitriev for a drink.

"Prince also could not adequately explain why he traveled halfway around the world to meet with UAE officials and, ultimately, the head of the Russian fund".

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