World

Erik Prince, Trump Ally, Denies Role in Libya Mercenary Operation

The mercenaries arrived with aircraft and military boats smuggled from South Africa and Europe, and offered to form a hit squad to locate and assassinate Mr. Hifter’s main enemy commander, the report said.

But the operation hit an obstacle when Jordan refused to sell American-made Cobra helicopter gunships to the mercenaries, then it turned to disaster when a dispute with Mr. Hifter forced the mercenaries to flee Libya by boat across the Mediterranean.

At that time, Mr. Prince says, he was in the mountains of Wyoming and later on a road trip to Alaska and Canada with his son.

“It’s hard to run a mercenary operation from the backcountry of northern Yukon Territory,” he said.

The U.N. report says that Mr. Prince transferred three of his own airplanes to Libya for the use of Mr. Hifter’s war campaign.

Investigators say a paper trail led them from Prince-controlled companies in Bermuda, Bulgaria and United States that owned the airplanes to the Libyan battlefield.

Mr. Prince stumbled in his explanation of his companies. Mr. Prince’s lawyer contradicted him when Mr. Prince said he was the owner of Bridgeporth, a British survey company the U.N. investigators said was used to provide cover for Mr. Prince’s military ventures.

He does not know or care who ultimately bought the planes that ended up in Libya, he said.


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