Trump ally Erik Prince reportedly under investigation by FBI for 'converting crop dusting plane into military aircraft'

Prince has given handsomely to president's campaigns, and is brother to education secretary Betsy DeVos

Clark Mindock
New York
Friday 21 February 2020 00:22 GMT
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The FBI is reportedly investigating Donald Trump ally and Blackwater founder Erik Prince for his efforts to convert an American-made crop dusting plane into an attack aircraft, in violation of arms trafficking regulations.

The investigation, reported by The Intercept, has been launched as a part of a series of ongoing inquiries into Mr Prince, who is considered by some to be a shadow adviser to the president.

He has reportedly also been the focus of an investigation for lying to Congress during the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, as well as concerns related to an armed aviation proposal made to the United Arab Emirates in 2017.

The crop dusting investigation stems from an alleged 2015 attempt to modify the planes, according to two people who spoke to The Intercept.

But Mr Prince, an heir to a billion dollar fortune, is apparently not concerned with investigation and sees himself as untouchable during the Trump administration: “Not under this guy,” he is reported to have said of the prospect that he might be prosecuted.

Mr Prince donated at least $250,000 to help elect Mr Trump during the 2016 campaign against Hillary Clinton, and also helped to dig up dirt on the Democrat, according to campaign finance details and the special counsel report on Russian meddling in the election.

Blackwater, the company Mr Prince is best known for, is a private military company that was banned from operations in Iraq after it was discovered that the company’s employees had murdered several civilians there.

Mr Prince, in addition to his giving to Mr Trump, is also connected to the administration because his sister is education secretary Betsy DeVos.

The FBI refused to confirm or deny any ongoing investigations into Mr Prince.

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