Ex-MI6 officer Christopher Steele in hiding after Trump memo
An ex-MI6 officer who is believed to have prepared a memo claiming Russia has compromising material on US President-elect Donald Trump is now in hiding.
Christopher Steele, who runs a London-based intelligence firm, is believed to have left his home this week.
The memos contain unsubstantiated claims that Russian security officials have compromising material on Mr Trump.
The US president-elect said the claims were “fake news” and “phoney stuff”.
Mr Steele has been widely named as the author of a memo - which has been published in some US media - that contains extensive allegations about Mr Trump’s personal life and his campaign’s relationship with the Russian state.
Among the allegations are that Moscow has a video recording of Mr Trump with prostitutes and damaging information about his business activities.
It is understood Mr Steele left his home on either Tuesday or Wednesday, before he was publicly named, and was now “in hiding”.
Mr Steele is said to have asked his neighbour to look after his cats.
The central allegation made in the memos was that Mr Trump was “vulnerable to blackmail”.
Mr Steele, who was initially named in the US, is believed to be a former member of the Secret Intelligence Service - MI6 - and is a director of Orbis Business Intelligence - which describes itself as a leading corporate intelligence consultancy.
It seems he had been an intelligence officer - rather than agent - in MI6, who would have run a team of agents as an intelligence gatherer. However, Mr Steele was now working in the private sector, and there was “probably a fair bit of money involved” in the commissioning of the dossier.
Christopher Burrows, who is listed as a co-director of Orbis alongside Mr Steele, refused to confirm or deny whether the firm had produced the report on Mr Trump.
Founded in 2009 by former British intelligence professionals, the firm - based in Grosvenor Gardens, central London - has a “global network” of experts and “prominent business figures”,, according to its website.
Orbis says it offers “strategic advice”, as well as mounting “intelligence-gathering operations” and cross-border investigations.
Mr Steele reportedly spent years under diplomatic cover working for MI6 in Russia and France, as well as at the Foreign Office in London. nHe is reported to have supplied the US Federal Bureau of Investigation with information on allegations of corruption at FIFA, football’s world governing body.
The 35-page dossier on Mr Trump - which is believed to have been commissioned initially by Republicans opposed to Mr Trump has been circulating in Washington for some time.
Media organisations, uncertain of its credibility, initially held back from publication. However, the entire series of reports has now been posted online, with Mr Steele named as the author.