A private airplane owned by a now-sanctioned Russian billionaire flew to Seychelles one day before a secret meeting between an associate of President Trump — Blackwater founder Erik Prince — and a Russian government ally, according to a NJ Advance Media report Thursday that cited airport flight data.
The meeting between Prince, the chief of the sanctioned Russian sovereign investment fund Kirill Dmitriev and adviser to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) George Nader, is reportedly of key interest to special counsel Robert Mueller, as he probes the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election. Nader reportedly has close ties to members of Trump’s inner circle.
The Washington Post reported in March that a witness told Mueller that the January 2017 meeting was held to establish a backchannel of communication between the U.S. and Russia. Prince — who has reportedly been interviewed by Mueller, according to the Daily Beast — testified before the House Intelligence Committee about the meeting last year. He said the 30 minute discussion was held to explore a business venture with “potential customers” from the UAE and that Dmitriev’s expressed a desire to return to normal trade relations between the U.S. and Russia.
According to NJ Advance Media’s report, the aircraft, which is owned by sanctioned Russian billionaire Andrei Skoch, arrived around 4 p.m. on January 10, 2017, just one day before Prince arrived. NJ Advance reporter Erin Banco also confirmed that the six passengers who were on the plane stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel, which, according to Prince, is where the meeting was held.
Banco reported that it was unclear whether Skoch — who is included on the Treasury Department’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list — attended the meeting.
Read NJ Advance Media’s full report here.