Donald Trump may have borrowed Russian money, claims spy chief

US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference .
 Picture: AFP PHOTO / Brendan SmialowskiBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference . Picture: AFP PHOTO / Brendan SmialowskiBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
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A British former spy chief has suggested Donald Trump borrowed money from Russian lenders to keep his property empire afloat.

Ex-MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove said financial links with Moscow may “linger” for the US president.

Mr Trump has strenuously denied any business links with Russia, insisting that the country had no “leverage” over him.

Sir Richard said the allegations surrounding members of Mr Trump’s team over contact with the Russian government were “unprecedented”.

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Speaking to Prospect magazine, he added: “What lingers for Trump may be what deals - on what terms - he did after the financial crisis of 2008 to borrow Russian money when others in the west apparently would not lend to him.”

Days before his inauguration in January, Mr Trump tweeted: “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!”

Mr Trump came to power pledging to build bridges with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, but the conflict in Syria has dealt a blow to those aspirations.

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US air strikes in retaliation for Moscow-backed Syrian leader Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons have contributed to relations between Washington and Moscow falling to what Mr Trump claimed may be an “all-time low”.