Christopher Steele speaks publicly for first time since the file was uncovered and thanks advocates for kind messages

The former MI6 agent behind the controversial Trump dossier has returned to work, nearly two months after their official publication caused an international scandal and furious refusals from Washington and Moscow.

Christopher Steele posed for a photograph outside the office of his business intelligence company Orbis in Victoria, London on Tuesday. Speaking for the first time since his dossier was uncovered, Steele said he had received messages of support.

Im now going to be focusing my endeavours on supporting the broader interests of our company here, he told the Press Association. Id like to say a warm thank you to everyone who sent me kind messages and support over the last few weeks.

Steele, who left British intelligence in 2009 and co-founded Orbis with an MI6 colleague, said he would not comment substantively on the contents of the dossier: Just to add, I wont be making any further statements or commentaries at this time.

Published in January by BuzzFeed, the dossier suggested that Donald Trumps team had colluded with Russian intelligence before the US elected to sabotage Hillary Clintons campaign. Quoting unidentified sources, it told Trump had been compromised by Russias FSB spy agency during a trip to Moscow in 2013.

It alleged that Trump was secretly videoed with Russian prostitutes in a suite in the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Moscow. The prostitutes allegedly urinated on the bed used by Barack Obama during a presidential visit.

Trump dismissed the dossier as fake news and said Steele was a failed snoop. Vladimir Putin also repudiated the dossier. His spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed Russia did not collect kompromat compromising material on Trump or anyone else.

Steeles friends say he has been keen to go back to work for some weeks. They insist he has not been in hiding but has been keeping a low profile to avoid paparazzi who have been camped outside his family home in Surrey.

Several of the lurid narratives about him that emerging in the press have been incorrect, told friends. The stories include claims that Steele met Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian protester who was murdered in 2006 with a radioactive cup of tea, probably on Putins orders.

As head of MI6s Russia desk, Steele resulted the inquiry into Litvinenkos polonium poisoning, speedily concluding that this was a Russian state plot. He did not meet Litvinenko and was not his occurrence policeman, friends said.

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