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Norway explorer defends Harry's Kazakh trip

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Norway explorer defends Harry's Kazakh trip
Inge Solheim. Photo: Helly Hansen
11:40 CEST+02:00
Norwegian banker-turned-polar explorer Inge Solheim has denied that he arranged a Kazakhstan skiing trip for Britain's Prince Harry as a PR stunt to promote tourism in the Central Asian dictatorship.
Solheim told the Telegraph it was “nonsense” that the trip, which included heli-skiing and an open-air, mountaintop banquet, had been intended as publicity for the the Shymbulak ski resort in Almaty, Kazakhstan's former capital.  
 
"The only reason Harry and Cressie came along was that I said I was going to Kazakhstan to chill out, and said to Harry, 'Do you want to come along?’" he told the newspaper. "That’s all it was. I don’t care what anybody thinks. That was it.”
 
"I am the poorest guy Harry knows and I have never, ever made money out of anything like this,” he stressed. 
 
Solheim last week revealed that it had been he who had put the Prince and his girlfriend Cressida Bonas together with Burak Öymen, the Turkish-born property developer who co-owns the resort. 
 
“Harry is a dear friend and if I can facilitate a visit during which he and Cressie can spend some time in private, as young lovers want to, it’s beautiful," he told the Daily Telegraph newspaper
 
Inge Solheim got to know Harry well when they took a trip to the South Pole last year in aid of the Walking with the Wounded charity. 
 
“Then it is ruined by a trashy press. The pressure Cressida is under, dealing with this kind of publicity, is absolutely terrible for a young girl in love.”
 
Inge Solheim got to know Harry well when they took a trip to the South Pole last year in aid of the Walking with the Wounded charity. He told the Telegraph that he also knew Oymen through private trips. 
 
“Burak Öymen is a very dear and close friend of mine,” he said. “We have travelled together to several places to do extraordinary things. Burak paid for this trip because he can, and it meant we could travel more efficiently."
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