A deep-pocketed Trump donor promised to provide information to a top Kremlin official during the 2016 campaign. according to reports Friday.
Simon Kukes, a Russian-born oil tycoon who now lives in Texas, told a senior figure in Moscow that he was “actively involved” in the President Trump’s campaign as he petitioned for a face-to-face meeting, the Guardian and NBC News reported.
Kukes emailed Vyacheslav Pavlovsky, a career Kremlin official and former ambassador to Norway, and even shared photos of his 29-year-old Russian girlfriend posing with Trump in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election.
The emails were obtained through the Dossier Center, a London-based investigative project funded by Russian ex-pat and opposition figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
“I have been actively involved in Trump’s election campaign, and am part of the group on strategy development,” Kukes wrote to Pavlovsky, now the vice president of the state-owned Russian Railways. “I will be in Switzerland July 20th till August 2nd. Let me know how you are doing, and whether you want to meet.”
Kukes contributed $273,000 to the Trump Victory fund, which doled out donations to Trump and other Republican candidates.
He began writing checks just two weeks after the now-infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting that involved high ranking members of the Trump team and a Russian lawyer promising “dirt” on Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Russian election interference and possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin to sway the contest in the President’s favor.
Mueller is also reportedly eyeing a number of Russia-related businessmen who donated large sums of money to Trump.
Kukes, born in Moscow, but now a U.S. citizen, told NBC News he thought his donations would help him make business contacts in Houston. He added that he regrets having made them in light of the press coverage they generated.