Leaked Docs Show Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross Holds Undisclosed Stake In Company Run By Putin’s Family

NBC News reports:

Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary in the Trump administration, shares business interests with Vladimir Putin’s immediate family, and he failed to clearly disclose those interests when he was being confirmed for his cabinet position.

Ross — a billionaire industrialist — retains an interest in a shipping company, Navigator Holdings, that was partially owned by his former investment company. One of Navigator’s most important business relationships is with a Russian energy firm controlled, in turn, by Putin’s son-in-law and other members of the Russian president’s inner circle.

Some of the details of Ross’s continuing financial holdings — much of which were not disclosed during his confirmation process — are revealed in a trove of more than 7 million internal documents of Appleby, a Bermuda-based law firm, that was leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

More from the Guardian:

Navigator operates a lucrative partnership with Sibur, a Russian gas company part-owned by Kirill Shamalov, the husband of Putin’s daughter Katerina Tikhonova.

The involvement of both Ross and Shamalov in the shipping venture dates back to 2011. That year, Ross’s investment firm, WL Ross, began buying into Navigator with an investment that gave Ross two seats on the company’s board. Meanwhile, in Moscow, Shamalov began investing in Sibur, which was formerly state-owned.

By January 2012, having built up his holding in the Russian company, Shamalov, then 29, was made its deputy chairman. That summer, WL Ross took control of Navigator by buying a further $110m stake from the collapsed Lehman Brothers bank.