Sunday, November 5, 2017

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Holds Significant Business Ties To Russia

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross
Ruh-roh...

According to the New York Times, yet another high ranking person in the Donald Trump orbit, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, has large financial ties to Russia, including members of Vladimir Putin's own family.

After becoming commerce secretary, Wilbur L. Ross Jr. retained investments in a shipping firm he once controlled that has significant business ties to a Russian oligarch subject to American sanctions and President Vladimir V. Putin’s son-in-law, according to newly disclosed documents.

The shipper, Navigator Holdings, earns millions of dollars a year transporting gas for one of its top clients, a giant Russian energy company called Sibur, whose owners include the oligarch and Mr. Putin’s family member. Despite selling off numerous other holdings to join the Trump administration and spearhead its “America first” trade policy, Mr. Ross kept an investment in Navigator, which increased its business dealings with Sibur even as the West sought to punish Russia’s energy sector over Mr. Putin’s incursions into Ukraine.

Partnerships used by Mr. Ross, whose private equity firm has long been the biggest shareholder in Navigator, have a 31 percent stake in the company. Though his personal share of that stake was reduced as he took office in February, he retained an investment in the partnerships valued between $2 million and $10 million, and stood to earn a higher share of profits as general partner, according to his government ethics disclosure and securities filings.

Mr. Ross’s stake in Navigator has been held by a chain of companies in the Cayman Islands, one of several tax havens where much of his wealth, estimated at more than $2 billion, has been tied to similar investment vehicles.

The information came from a cache of leaked files from Appleby, one of the world’s largest offshore law firms.

Considering Trump said no one in his campaign or administration had any connections to Russia, there sure are a LOT of people with connections to Russia...

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