Donald Trump borrowed money from Russia almost a decade ago, according to the former head of British intelligence agency MI6.
Richard Dearlove's claim appears to contradict Mr Trump's previous claim that Russia does not and never has had any "leverage over him."
Mr Trump's election campaign and subsequent presidency have been dogged by allegations of ties with Moscow, including claims that the Kremlin has a 'dossier' of incriminating information about the Republican billionaire.
Now Dearlove has told Prospect magazine: “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.”
Dearlove, who joined MI6 in 1966 and ran the agency's Washington station during his decades of service, alleged that Mr Trump needed the money to support his ailing property empire at the height of the economic downturn.
Mr Trump has taken a hawkish stance on Russia in recent days, launching an air strike against Russian ally Bashar al-Assad and subsequently suggesting relations with Moscow were at an "all-time low."