Rupert Murdoch was in the room when Donald Trump gave an exclusive interview to a British newspaper owned by his media company News Corp.
The tycoon was not pictured in any of the photographs of the incoming president with the Times columnist and former UK cabinet minister Michael Gove, and the newspaper made no mention of his presence in its coverage.
However, it was reported by the Financial Times that the News Corp founder and chairman was sitting in on the conversation at Trump Tower in New York for the wide-ranging interview.
It is unclear whether Mr Murdoch helped secure the interview, but he is believed to be close to Mr Trump and his family. One of his news channels, Fox News, has been granted regular access to the new US President.
Mr Murdoch’s News Corp owns a number of newspapers and other media titles around the world, and the proprietor’s close ties to powerful politicians is often criticised.
The Times published its scoop on January 16, four days before Mr Trump’s inauguration, under the headline “I’ll do a deal with Britain”, and quoted him praising the UK’s vote for Brexit and blasting Angela Merkel’s “catastrophic” immigration policy.
Mr Gove, a prominent campaigner for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, was pictured alongside the president-elect following the meeting, with both men giving the “thumbs up” in front of a framed copy of Playboy magazine.
Mr Gove was formerly a leader writer for the Times before being elected to Parliament, and the Financial Times reported he is now paid £150,000 a year to write for the newspaper, on top of his salary as an MP.
Since his inauguration on January 20, Mr Trump has faced fierce criticism, both in America and abroad, in response to his executive order barring entry into the United States for refugees and others from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
He has also been under fire for lashing out at clothing brand Nordstrom for dropping his daughter Ivanka’s clothing line.