Special counsel Robert Mueller has obtained and is reviewing phones and a computer used by Erik Prince, the President Trump-ally whose sister Betsy DeVos is the secretary of education, ABC News reported Monday.
A statement to ABC News from Prince’s spokesperson said that he “has spoken voluntarily with Congress and also cooperated completely with the Special Counsel’s investigation, including by providing them total access to his phones and computer.”
“Mr. Prince has a lot of opinions about the various investigations, but there is no question that they are important and serious, and so Mr. Prince will keep his opinions to himself for now and to let the investigators do their work,” the spokesperson told ABC News. “All we will add is that much of the reporting and speculation about Mr. Prince in the media is inaccurate, and we are confident that when the investigators have finished their work, we will be able to put these distractions to the side.”
ABC News also reported that two business associates of Prince’s had been approached by the FBI investigators seeking information about business dealings between Russian nationals and Prince’s Hong Kong-based security firm Frontier Services Group.
Prince, during his November 2017 interview with House Intelligence committee, denied having investments or business partnerships with Russian nationals.
One of the Prince associates ABC News talked to said that FBI agents working for Mueller asked about the associate’s awareness of any “falsehoods in the testimony that Erik Prince gave to the House Intelligence Committee.”
The associate said he recounted an effort by Prince to team up with a Russian arms dealer, Dimitriy Streshinskiy, who was seeking a $216 million security contract with Azerbaijan — a deal that ultimately fell through, ABC News reported.
A seperate business associate told ABC News he had been asked by FBI agents about Frontier Services Group’s courtship of the Russian state-owned energy firm Rostec.
“Any discussions between FSG and those individuals predated the existence of the Trump campaign, and never resulted in any business being done,” Prince’s spokesperson told ABC News.
A secret meeting Prince attended in the Seychelles in January 2017 with Kirill Dmitriev, the head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund appointed by President Vladimir Putin, attracted scrutiny after it was reported by the Washington Post in April 2017 as an attempt for a backchannel between Trump’s transition team and Russia. According to the Post’s report, the United Arab Emirates coordinated the meeting
Prince has denied that he was acting as a backchannel for the Trump transition team and described the meeting as impromptu.
The meeting was in fact set up ahead of time by George Nader, Nader has told Mueller’s investigators, according to ABC News. Nader, a Lebanese-American business who was involved with other meetings between Trump associates and foreign figures, is reportedly cooperating with Mueller’s investigation in exchange for limited immunity.