Who Is Christopher Steele And What Do We Know About Orbis Business Intelligence?

The former spy is in deep hiding now.

Former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele has been unmasked as the man behind an explosive dossier about US president-elect Donald Trump.

The 52-year-old, who runs London-based Orbis Business Intelligence, has been named in reports as having compiled the file on Trump, which contains unverified allegations that Russian security officials have compromising material that could be used to blackmail him.

Trump has publicly dismissed the allegations and lambasted the media for peddling “fake news,” but one of Steele’s former colleagues told the Guardian: “The idea his work is fake or a cowboy operation is false, completely untrue.

“Chris is an experienced and highly regarded professional. He’s not the sort of person who will simply pass on gossip.”

This is what we know so far...

How his cover was blown
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Steele was hired to look into Trump’s Russian ties for a private Washington firm and was sufficiently concerned as to pass his findings to the FBI in August.

His research was funded at first by anti-Trump Republicans and later by Democrats.

The dossier has been circulating among US journalists for more than six months.

David Corn, of political blog Mother Jones, wrote of the dossier last year, but did not name Steele, or give away his nationality.

But once CNN revealed it had been put together by a British former spy, Steele’s anonymity was thrown into jeopardy.
He runs London-based Orbis Business Intelligence
Steele is one of two directors of Orbis, according to Companies House, along with Christopher Burrows, 58.

Founded in 2009 by former British intelligence professionals, Orbis has a “global network” of experts and “prominent business figures”, according to its website.

It says: “We provide strategic advice, mount intelligence-gathering operations and conduct complex, often cross-border investigations.”

The firm, based in Grosvenor Gardens, close to London’s upmarket Belgravia area (pictured), says it “draws on extensive experience at boardroom level in government, multilateral diplomacy and international business to develop bespoke solutions for clients.”

Burrows has refused to “confirm or deny” that Orbis had produced the 35-page dossier.

Steele was posted to the UK’s Moscow embassy in 1990 as Second Secretary, serving under ambassador Sir Rodric Braithwaite.

He is later listed as service at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2003 and as First Secretary at Britain’s Paris embassy in 1998.
He knew poisoned Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko
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According to reports published in The Times, Steele is a highly regarded Kremlin expert, who once worked with Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko (pictured).

The former KGB spy was poisoned with polonium-210 in London in 2006, with a public inquiry revealing his murder was carried out by the Russian state – most likely on the orders of Vladimir Putin.

Sources told the Guardian it was Steele who quickly and correctly realised Litvinenko's death was a Russian "hit".
No one knows where he is now
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According to the Telegraph, Steele fled his home in Surrey on Wednesday morning after realising his name was about to be made public.

A source told the newspaper Steele was “horrified” when his nationality was published and is now “terrified for his and his family’s safety.”

Another source told The Mirror: “Once his name came out the view was that he could be under threat so steps are being taken to protect him and put him in a more secure environment.”

Media outlets were asked not to interview him before 10pm on Wednesday, meaning it is possible he was being taken to a safe house, probably in a different country.

Before he left, he asked his neighbour to look after his cat "for a few days."

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