A former British intelligence officer has been named as the author of a dossier which made lurid, but unverified allegations about US president-elect Donald Trump.
Christopher Steele, 52, is now the director of London-based Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd after he left MI6 and started the company in 2009.
After the Wall Street Journal revealed Steele as the author of the document, which included allegations that Trump used prostitutes at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Moscow, he has reportedly fled his home and is "terrified for his safety".
Trump has strongly denied the accusations, labelling them as "fake news, phoney stuff" put together by "sick people" during his press conference on Wednesday (11 January).
Giving his first question and answer session with the media since his election, Trump voiced anger at his suspicions that intelligence agencies leaked the dossier and added he feels as though he is living in Nazi Germany.
"I think it was disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out," he said.
"I think it's a disgrace, and that's something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do."
Despite the uproar caused by the 35-page report, news agencies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have been unable to verify any of its findings.
However, John Sipher, who retired in 2014 after 28 years with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), told the WSJ that Steele had a good reputation in the intelligence community and was stationed in Russia for years.
Corporations have increasingly relied on companies such as Orbis to conduct due diligence on potential business partners in risky areas. However, maintaining quality control where political intrigue is a factor can be challenging, executives said to the WSJ.
Andrew Wordsworth, co-founder of London-based investigations firm Raedas, who often works on Russian issues, said the memos in the Trump dossier were "not convincing at all."
"It's just way too good," he said. "If the head of the CIA were to declare he got information of this quality, you wouldn't believe it."
Russia has also strongly denied the allegations. Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, said they were "pulp fiction" and a "clear attempt to damage relations".