More Russians than previously reported participated in a meetings in the Seychelles days before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, according to a report from New Jersey Advance Media.
One meeting on the Indian Ocean archipelago — between Blackwater founder Erik Prince, de facto United Arab Emirates leader Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Putin-connected Russian sovereign wealth fund director Kirill Dmitriev (pictured above) — has attracted special counsel Robert Mueller’s attention.
Around the same time, according to the Monday afternoon report, “several Russians” participated in meetings in the Seychelles that have also earned Mueller’s scrutiny. The outlet, which publishes several New Jersey newspapers including The Star-Ledger, cited flight logs and several unnamed sources with knowledge of the meetings.
The other meetings “focused generally on Syria, energy and sanctions,” the report said, and included participants from “Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and the U.S.,” according to three unnamed sources and flight logs. Citing several unnamed sources, the report states that “several” Russians participated in meetings on lifting U.S. sanctions against the country, a top priority of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s, as well as a large group of sanctioned Russian government officials, oligarchs and others in the country’s elite.
The report specifically examined an aircraft supposedly owned by Russian lawmaker and billionaire Andrei Skoch.
According to the report, on Jan. 10, Skoch’s plane departed from Moscow, stopped in Dubai, landed in the Seychelles and then flew back to Dubai. “Several days later,” it landed again in the Seychelles and then departed with 16 passengers on Jan. 19.
Two unnamed sources “with knowledge of the meetings” said “several” of the individuals on that final flight “participated directly in meetings that focused on international trade and sanctions,” in the report’s words. The outlet previously reported that passengers on the plane stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel where the meetings took place.
Read New Jersey Advance Media’s full report here.