Nov. 6, 2017 – Today, Common Cause called on the Inspector General of the Commerce Department to investigate Secretary Wilbur Ross’ significant investments in a shipping company closely linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle that came to light through the “Paradise Papers.” Financial filings reveal that Ross’s investments include between $2 and $10 million dollars in Navigator Holdings, which takes in millions of dollars annually for transporting natural gas for Sibur, a Russian energy giant partially owned by Putin’s son-in-law and also a Russian oligarch with close ties to the Russian President. At a time when the U.S. has imposed sanctions against the Russian Energy sector over Russia’s annexation of parts of Ukraine, Navigator has actually expanded its business with Sibur.
“The American people expect members of any Administration to put America first, and the shady offshore business dealings of Wilbur Ross call his conduct and motivations into question,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “Secretary Ross was not forthcoming in his confirmation hearings and we are urging the Inspector General to fully investigate the business holdings of the Commerce Secretary – particularly those with ties to the Kremlin. These latest revelations are part of a disturbing pattern of Trump Administration officials seeking to hide their links to Russian business interests and members of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.”
The letter urged the Inspector General to promptly conduct the investigation and upon completion to make its findings publicly available to shed light on the deliberately hidden offshore investments of the Commerce Secretary.
These latest revelations will be a topic of discussion among the experts at tomorrow’s daylong Blueprint for a Great Democracy Conference. In conjunction with the conference, Common Cause will release a new report, “Putin, Trump and Democracy’s Slippery Slope Toward Oligarchy”, examining the vulnerabilities of our democracy identified by Russia, how they were exploited, and some of the responses that have been, or need to be, enacted to address them.
To read the letter, click here.
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