Queen’s cousin accused of willingness to sell Kremlin access

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LONDON (AP) — An investigative report by British media said Sunday that Queen Elizabeth II’s cousin, Prince Michael of Kent, was willing to use his royal status for personal profit and to seek favors from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The undercover investigation by the Sunday Times and Channel 4 saw reporters posing as investors of a fake South Korean gold company seeking contacts in the Kremlin to further its business in Russia.

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Prince Michael, 78, allegedly told the reporters by Zoom that he would give their company his royal endorsement in a recorded speech for a $200,000-fee. He added that he was happy to use his home in Kensington Palace as a backdrop for the endorsement.

The royal’s business partner, Simon Reading, also reportedly told the fake investors that Michael could be hired for 10,000 pounds ($14,000) a day to make “confidential” representations on behalf of the fictitious gold firm, House of Haedong, to Putin.

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“If he (Prince Michael) is representing the House of Haedong, he could mention that to Putin and Putin would find the right person who is interested in South Korea or interested in gold,” Reading reportedly said. “It just opens the door, you know, which is so helpful.”

He went on to describe Michael as “Her Majesty’s unofficial ambassador to Russia”, and that tension between the U.K. and Russia has not affected his relationship with Putin.

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