During a business meeting with two undercover reporters, who Prince Michael thought were potential clients hoping to gain access to the Kremlin (the official residence of the President of Russia), the royal said he could be hired for $10,000 pounds a day — almost $14,000 USD — to make "confidential" representations to Putin's team, it was reported.
The undercover reporters were working with British TV station Channel 4 in collaboration with the Sunday Times for a documentary about how royals sell access to the monarch. They reportedly approached five members of the royal family to offer them a role in a fake South Korean gold investment company, House of Haedong.
Channel 4 Dispatches shared clips via Twitter on Saturday, May 8, of the meeting with Michael and his business partner, Lord Simon Reading. The duo work at a private company, which offers consultancy advice.
During the business meeting, which was filmed, the prince allegedly said he would happily offer his royal endorsement to the clients' company for a $200,000 fee.
Michael — who is not a working member of the royal family and does not receive money from the civil list — reportedly went so far as to say he would use his home in Kensington Palace as a backdrop for a speech promoting the made-up company.
“If [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," Lord Reading allegedly said during the recorded meeting. "It just opens the door, you know, which is so helpful."
Lord Reading allegedly added that "we’re talking relatively discreetly here because we wouldn’t want the world to know that he is seeing Putin purely for business reasons, if you follow me."
Lord Reading allegedly went on to describe Prince Michael as "Her Majesty's unofficial ambassador to Russia." In addition, he apparently told the undercover reporters that the prince's four- or five-day trip to Russia would cost around $70,000.
In light of the revelations made by Channel 4 and Sunday Times, Prince Michael's office denounced claims that he received public funding, explaining that he "earns his own living through a consultancy company that he has run for over 40 years."
They insisted Prince Michael has "no special relationship with President Putin," as he met him once in June 2003 and "has had no contact with him or his office since then."
In regards to the statements Lord Reading made about Prince Michael, the prince's office called the lord a "good friend," who "made suggestions which Prince Michael would not have wanted, or been able, to fulfill."
Meanwhile, Lord Reading has also spoken out, sharing: “I thought the approach from the House of Haedong was genuine and I was only trying to facilitate an introduction to my friend Prince Michael."
After admitting that he "made a mistake" and "over-promised" on his pal's behalf, he said he was "truly regretful."
“I wasn’t at my peak as I was recovering from a kidney transplant," Lord Reading added.
According to the report, Lord Reading used an event to promote the Russian wrestling sport of Sambo at Kensington Palace, which Prince Michael attended, in 2013 to sell access to Putin.
“For the record, the Sambo event which was eight years ago was my event and Prince Michael was simply my guest along with many other people," Reading clarified in his statement.
Dispatches: Royals for Hire will broadcast at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 10, on Channel 4.