Prince's Seychelles Contact Pursued Wider Outreach

News  |  Oct 4, 2018

The Daily Beast reports that Kirill Dmitriev, the Russian sovereign fund manager who met with Erik Prince in the Seychelles just ten days before Donald Trump's inauguration, referred to Vladimir Putin as his "boss" and shared his memo of matters the two discussed with several other people closely connected to the Trump transition.

On January 11, 2017, Dmitriev held his meeting on the Indian Ocean archipelago with Prince, the former head of Blackwater. Shortly afterwards, he distributed a memo to various Trumpworld figures proposing that Washington partner with Moscow on a number of military, energy, and financial projects. The memo, revealed exclusively by The Daily Beast last week, was characterized as a readout of the Seychelles confab. In a statement, a representative for Dmitriev denied the existence of a memo or read-out related to conversations that took place in the Seychelles. 

Sent from the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, the memo appears to be one of the earliest reported documents that set out a blueprint for how to improve U.S.-Russia relations under a Trump presidency. 

The memo was distributed to individuals who represented themselves as having the ability to get the document into the hands of President Trump’s senior aides, according to materials viewed by The Daily Beast. The memo circulated just days before President Trump’s inauguration at a time when his team was actively forming plans on how to improve relations with Russia, including easing sanctions against the country. Dmitriev’s fund, the RDIF, was and still is under U.S. sanctions, though it is legal to conduct business with the entity under certain circumstances. It is also legal to meet with its leaders.


During the past two years, Dmitriev has emerged as an influential player in working to broker better relations between the U.S. and Russia. Dmitriev worked not only to promote trade between the two countries—a topic he often speaks about on television—but also to normalize diplomacy between Washington and Moscow ... 


Part of Dmitriev’s power, those who have worked with him said, comes from his reputation in the both the political and financial realms in Russia. Three people who either know Dmitriev or have worked with him say he has been in close contact with President Putin and at times refers to him as his "boss," according to communications reviewed by The Daily Beast. By Russian law, Putin appoints the CEO and the supervisory board of RDIF. Dmitriev met publicly with Putin several times throughout 2017 and 2018.


Prince testified in front of Congress that the meeting [with Dmitriev] was a chance encounter and that the two men discussed improved trade relations "over a beer." But materials reviewed by The Daily Beast show the meeting was set up in advance. And the memo, which The Daily Beast viewed, includes a much wider range of topics than what Prince revealed during his testimony.


Whatever the conversation in the Seychelles, the memo appears to deal with subjects outside the scope of Dmitriev’s formal responsibilities as CEO of RDIF.

Erik Prince’s Russian Connection Trawled Trumpland for ‘Boss’ Putin (Daily Beast)