U.S. commerce chief Ross says nothing improper about investments

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (NOVEMBER 6, 2017) (BBC) – U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said, in an interview with the BBC on Monday (November 6), there was nothing improper about his investments in a shipping firm with significant ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

U.S. media, citing leaked documents from an offshore law firm, said partnerships used by Ross have a 31 percent stake in Navigator Holdings, which the New York Times said earns millions of dollars a year transporting gas for Russian petrochemical firm Sibur.

Ross, a billionaire investor helping to shape President Donald Trump’s trade policy, denied wrongdoing and said Sibur had not been sanctioned by the United States.

The files, released late on Sunday (November 5), are part of the so-called Paradise Papers, a trove of leaked offshore investment documents that relate to the affairs of wealthy individuals and institutions ranging from Ross to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and trading firm Glencore.

The documents were obtained by Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and some media outlets. Reuters has not independently verified the documents.

In a statement released on Monday, Sibur said it had no direct dealings with Ross and that its ties to its partners were not in breach of sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine