The Russian financier whose Seychelles meeting with Trump campaign adviser Erik Prince in January 2017 raised red flags in the ongoing Russia probe has been tied directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Financial Times reports. Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, is known to have met with Prince shortly before President Trump’s inauguration, and Prince admitted to the meeting while testifying before the House Intelligence Committee late last year. But Dmitriev’s links to Putin now appear to be closer than previously thought. Six sources cited by the Financial Times say Dmitriev’s wife, Natalia Popova, is close friends with Putin’s younger daughter, Yekaterina Tikhonova, and also serves as the deputy director of her Innopraktika foundation. While Prince has maintained his brief meeting with Dmitriev was spontaneous, these new details on Dmitriev’s direct links to Putin are likely to renew concerns the pair’s meeting was organized to set up a secret Kremlin backchannel with the Trump administration.
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