A Washington Postinvestigation has alleged that the United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting in January between Erik Prince, the founder of private military company Blackwater (renamed Academi), and a Russian individual close to Vladimir Putin.
The report claims that this was in an attempt to establish a back-channel line of communication between the Kremlin and then President-Elect Donald Trump, according to US, European and Arab officials.
The agenda for the meeting, which allegedly took place in the Seychelles islands, remains unclear.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer denied the existence of the meetings.
We are not aware of any meetings, and Erik Prince had no role in the transition.
In a statement, a Prince spokesperson confirmed that “Erik had no role on the transition team” and called the claims a “complete fabrication”.
This latest investigation feeds the ever-growing tide of conspiracy theories surrounding Donald Trump's presidency and possible clandestine connections with Russia.
Prince has no official ties to the White House, although it is said that he donated more than $250,000 (£200,000) to Trump’s campaign last year.
People are theorising that Betsy DeVos’ contentious appointment as Secretary of Education is part of a larger conspiracy connected to her brother Prince, and the DeVos family at large, who have donated millions of dollars to the Republican Party over the years.
One reddit user wrote:
Betsy DeVos of the DeVos family is the wholly unqualified individual who was chosen by Trump to be the Secretary of Education, even though she never attended public school, or taught or had children in school.
It is a path of corruption:
From a Republican donor and his violent/illegal company....
to setting upon a secret link with Putin/Trump.....
to a cabinet position assignment for the donor's sister by Trump.
Blackwater has been dodging illuminati – style conspiracy theories for many years. The firm was in hot water following a series of incidents in Iraq which resulted in the conviction of some of their guards after it came to light that they had killed civilians in an Iraqi square.
Prince sold the company and it was renamed, but he continues to be involved in private security with contracts across the Middle East and Asia.
reddit user BC-clette summed up why the allegations are so important:
Imagine Clinton did it.
Imagine Clinton, days before inauguration sent the founder of a paramilitary company as an undisclosed envoy to meet with a representative of a hostile foreign power for a 2 day session kept secret from the president.
Imagine that envoy was from a DNC mega-donor family, contributing hundreds of millions to the party, and whose sister was a Clinton cabinet pick.
Imagine that meeting took place on an island in the Indian Ocean known for money laundering.
Imagine the person who arranged the meeting was a Muslim prince.
On the subject of Russia and possible interference with the elections and with members of his administration, Trump has been consistent: