The government of Kiribati has strongly rejected claims by a Russian businessman that President Taneti Maamau remains an ardent supporter of his investment project.
Last month, the Kiribati government turned down Anton Bakov's plan to lease three uninhabited islands in the Line group as part of efforts to revive the Romanov Empire.
However, at the start of this month, Mr Bakov wrote on Facebook that he met Mr Maamau who turned out to be an ardent supporter of the project under which more $US100 million would be transferred to the government up front.
Mr Bakov suggested only the Australian ambassador was opposed.
In a statement, the President's Office rejected the report and expressed concern at RNZI's continued lack of balance in reporting the issue.
The Office said tourism investment in the uninhabited islands in the eastern part of Kiribati was among the government's manifesto and one of the two Kiribati Vision 20 priority sectors currently being developed.
Last week, Mr Bakov told the news site znak.com that he was in the process of selling 19 plots of land near his home town of Yekaterinburg and would be moving from Russia to Kiribati.