Seychelles official touts the island as the place to get away from 'the eyes of the media' amid talk of Trump-Putin backchannel

A Seychelles government official called the islands “the kind of place where you can have a good time away from the eyes of the media” amid a report of meetings between an unofficial Trump associate and the Kremlin.

That meeting allegedly included Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian close to Vladimir Putin — ostensibly meant to establish a backchannel for communications between President Donald Trump and Russia, The Washington Post reported on Monday, citing US, European and Arab officials.

“I wouldn’t be surprised at all,” said Barry Faure, the Seychelles secretary of state for foreign affairs about the alleged meeting.

“The Seychelles is the kind of place where you can have a good time away from the eyes of the media. That’s even printed in our tourism marketing,” Faure said, “But I guess this time you smelled something.”

Prince was not an official member of Trump’s transition team, according to a spokesman, but reportedly told Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who helped broker the meeting, that he was authorised to act as an unofficial Trump surrogate.

A spokesman for Prince said the meeting had “nothing to do with President Trump,” and White House press secretary Sean Spicer told The Washington Post that the Trump administration was “not aware of any meetings and Erik Prince had no role in the transition.”

Separately, Zayed met with Trump transition officials in New York in December. That meeting included former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and current Trump administration advisers Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner.

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