Queen's cousin Prince Michael of Kent accused of seeking favours from Vladimir Putin for profit

  • 10/05/2021
Queen's cousin Prince Michael of Kent accused of seeking favours from Vladimir Putin for profit

An investigative report by British media has found Queen Elizabeth II’s cousin, Prince Michael of Kent, willing to use his royal status to seek favours from Russian President Vladimir Putin for personal profit.

The investigation by the Sunday Times and Channel 4 saw undercover reporters posing as executives of a fake South Korean gold investment company seeking to hire the Prince to secure contacts in the Kremlin to further its business in Russia.

Prince Michael, 78, allegedly told the undercover reporters on a Zoom call he would give their company his royal endorsement in a recorded speech for a US$200,000 ($NZD 274,922) fee. 

According to the Sunday Times, the Prince said he was happy to use his home in Kensington Palace as a backdrop for the endorsement.

Prince Michael's business partner, Simon Isaacs - whose title is the Marquess of Reading, also reportedly told the fake investors the Prince could be hired for $NZD 19,275 a day to make “confidential” representations on behalf of the fictitious gold firm, House of Haedong, to Putin.

In the same video published by The Sunday Times of the Zoom call with the undercover reporters, Prince Michael leaves the call, but Isaacs continues the meeting and appears to promise phoney executives access to President Vladimir Putin and his associates.

“If he (Prince Michael) is representing the House of Haedong, he could mention that to Putin and Putin would find the right person who is interested in South Korea or interested in gold,” Reading reportedly said. “It just opens the door, you know, which is so helpful,” Isaacs said.

Isaacs goes on to say that, in Russia, the prince is "not seen as political" but as "a friend of Russia."

He adds that Prince Michael is highly regarded due to his "royal family heritage,"

"He is just generally regarded as Her Majesty's unofficial ambassador to Russia." He said. 

Responding to the investigative report, Michael’s office said he “has no special relationship with President Putin” and that the two men last met in 2003.

Prince Michael and his wife, Princess Michael of Kent, aren't working royals and receive no public funds, but they are involved in some public duties including representing the queen at some engagements.

According to his biography, Michael is said to be connected to Russia through his maternal grandmother, and is the first member of Britain’s royal family to learn Russian. He is involved in charity work in Russia and is patron of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce.