Mr. Prince has been angling for military business in Libya since 2013, mostly through Mr. Hifter, the report says. In 2015, Mr. Prince supplied the Libyan commander with a private jet, owned by the Hong Kong-based Frontier Services Group company led by Mr. Prince, and which Mr. Hifter used for travel to meetings in Egypt and across the region, the report says.
That same year Mr. Prince pitched the European Union on a private military force to patrol Libya’s borders and combat illegal migration. The Europeans declined.
To the outside world, the mercenaries claimed to be working on a geological survey or an oil and gas project. The report says that Bridgeporth, a British survey company then owned by Mr. Prince, was used to manufacture cover stories — just as the company had been used as cover for previous mercenary operations in South Sudan and Uganda.
Travis Maki, an American pilot who once worked for Bridgeporth, told U.N. investigators that he flew one of Mr. Prince’s planes into Libya just before the operation. The plane, a Pilatus PC-6, had previously been used by Mr. Prince during his Blackwater days, and is the same model used by Mr. Gibson’s character in the movie “Air America.” In Libya, it had been fitted with powerful optical sensors that made it a piece of military equipment, the arms inspectors concluded.
In an email, Mark Davies, the chief executive of Bridgeporth, denied the company’s aircraft were used for anything other than surveys, and said that Mr. Maki had not worked for the company since 2018. Mr. Prince’s Frontier Group, which once invested in Bridgeporth, no longer held a stake in the company, he added.
Mr. Prince has faced accusations of violating international law before. In 2012, U.N. investigators accused his antipiracy force in Somalia, the Puntland Maritime Police Force, of “the most brazen violation of the arms embargo by a private security company.”