Trump dossier author Christopher Steele returns to work

Russell Hope, News Reporter

A former British spy forced into hiding after compiling an unproven dossier of damaging allegations about Donald Trump has returned to work.

Ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele, 52, said he was "really pleased" to be back, adding: "I'd like to say a warm thank you to everyone who sent me kind messages and support over the last few weeks."

Mr Steele, director of London-based Orbis Business Intelligence, was named as having authored a report published in January that claimed the Russian government had compromising material on the US President.

It included claims that President Trump's team had had multiple contacts with Russian officials during the election campaign, including discussions on hacking prominent Democrats.

Among its more lurid allegations was that the President had hired prostitutes to urinate on a hotel bed he believed Barack and Michelle Obama had used when visiting Moscow.

There were fears the 35-page file could have been used to blackmail the President, who labelled the claims "fake news".

Many others have also questioned the document's authenticity, with Russian president Vladimir Putin saying it contained "obvious fabrications" .

Fearing reprisals, Mr Steele fled from his Surrey home the day after he was named by the Wall Street Journal as the report's author, despite efforts by UK authorities to protect his identity.

Some of the suggestions made in the report have dogged President Trump's first few months in office.

The allegations that the Trump team was in contact with Russian officials during the election campaign forced the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn.

One of Mr Trump's earliest and most vocal supporters, Mr Flynn quit after giving misleading information about his meetings with Moscow's ambassador.

The dossier also claimed the Kremlin had cultivated and supported Mr Trump for at least five years, feeding him intelligence on political rivals including Hillary Clinton.

The report is said to have been spawned by political in-fighting as Republicans attempted to wreck Mr Trump's bid for the presidential nomination.

After the tycoon defied the odds, the inquiry was taken up by the Democrats.

They reportedly hired Mr Steele's firm to look into Mr Trump's alleged links with Moscow after hackers, thought to be from Russia, broke in to the Democrat National Committee website.

While working for MI6, Mr Steele is believed to have been posted to Moscow in the 1990s but later retired from the UK's overseas spy service.

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes