Mueller probe: Kirill Dmitriev's ties to Putin and the UAE

Mueller probe: Kirill Dmitriev's ties to Putin and the UAE
From Al Jazeera - April 6, 2018

Kirill Dmitriev is the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), a sovereign wealth fund created by the Russian government to attract investors to the Russian economy.

Dmitriev reportedly has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin's family.

He was a relatively unknown figure outside the business world before revelations arose about a meeting with members of the UAE's ruling elite and mercenary billionaire Erik Prince in the Seychelles in January 2017, just before President Donald Trump assumed office.

George Nader, a convicted child molester and adviser to the UAE's crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan - often called MBZ, who attended the Seychelles gathering - has reportedly testified to a grand jury that Dmitriev met with Prince in the Seychelles.

The testimony came in relation to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between Trump's election campaign team and Russian officials.

UAE investment with the RDIF

The UAE's own sovereign investment fund, Mubadala Development Company, is headed by MBZ and has invested alongisde the Russian fund since as early as 2013.

Mubadala and RDIF jointly invested $2bn - $1bn each - in an initiative "to pursue opportunities in Russia", focusing on "long-term investment opportunities", Mubadala's website says.

Abu Dhabi's Department of Finance committed to invest a further $5bn into Russian infrastructure in partnership with the RDIF in 2013. Dmitriev and MBZ met to sign a memorandum of understanding in September of that year.

Following the billion-dollar co-investments, Dmitriev became a frequent visitor to the United Arab Emirates, reports say.

Putin connection

Dmitriev and Russian President Vladimir Putinare reportedly linked through business relationships.

Dmitriev's wife, Natalia Popova is the deputy director of technology firm Innopraktika, which is headed by Putin's youngster daughter, Katerina Tikhonova. Dmitriev is a member of the firm's board.

News outlets previoulsy reported sources as saying that Dmitriev used his wife's alleged personal connections to Tikhonova to advance his career.

In a statement to Al Jazeera, the RDIF said Dmitriev was a "leading private equity professional" by the time of his appointment as head of the Russian sovereign investment fund.

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