dont think there

I don’t think there is any reason to worry. Not even a million. tax authorities? spirited away Swiss private-bank account records? “Russia is pipelining as much natural gas as needed into Europe, Navigator Holdings Ltd. which is incorporated in the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific Offshore entities in which Ross and other investors hold a financial stake controlled 315 percent of the company in 2016 according to Navigator’s latest annual report Among Navigator’s largest customers contributing more than $68 million in revenue since 2014 is the Moscow-based gas and petrochemicals company Sibur Two of its key owners are Kirill Shamalov who is married to Putin’s youngest daughter and Gennady Timchenko the sanctioned oligarch whose activities in the energy sector the Treasury Department said were “directly linked to Putin” Read | Also on secret list her Royal Highness the Queen Elizabeth II Another powerful owner is Sibur’s largest shareholder Leonid Mikhelson who controls an energy company that was also sanctioned by the Treasury Department for propping up Putin’s rule As commerce secretary Ross has direct authority over trade and manufacturing policy and is an influential voice in the government on virtually any aspect of the US economic relationship with other countries including Russia In recent years tensions between the United States and Russia have escalated with the United States imposing sanctions against Russia after its 2014 invasion of Crimea and its interference in the 2016 presidential election In the aftermath of the election investigations by Congress and the US Justice Department have explored potential business ties between Russia and members of the Trump administration While several of Trump’s campaign and business associates have come under scrutiny until now no business connections have been reported between senior Trump administration officials and members of Putin’s family or inner circle Must Read | Biggest data leaks reveals trails of Indian corporates in global secret tax havens During his confirmation process Ross was asked repeatedly about his business ties to Russia mostly related to his former role as vice chairman of the Bank of Cyprus which has a long history of financing Russian oligarchs “The United States Senate and the American public deserve to know the full extent of your connections with Russia and your knowledge of any ties between the Trump Administration Trump Campaign or Trump Organization and the Bank of Cyprus” a group of five Democratic senators wrote Ross after the hearing but prior to his confirmation Ross responded briefly to a question submitted for the hearing saying the Russians who invested in the bank “were not my partners” but he didn’t respond to the senators’ letter He was also asked about his shipping holdings and whether they could pose a conflict of interest with his duties at Commerce But he faced no questions about Navigator – where he once was chairman of the board – and its relationship with Sibur Sibur is “a company with crony connections” said Daniel Fried a Russia expert who served in senior State Department posts in both Republican and Democratic administrations “Why would any officer of the US government have any relationship with a Putin crony” Ross joined the board only after Navigator began dealing with Sibur and “never met” Shamalov Timchenko or Mikhelson said James Rockas a spokesman for the Commerce Department EXPLAINED: Why the Paradise Papers matter “Secretary Ross recuses himself from any matters focused on transoceanic shipping vessels but has been generally supportive of the administration’s sanctions of Russian and Venezuelan entities” Rockas said Another of Navigator’s major customers is PDVSA the Venezuelan state-owned oil company controlled by the authoritarian regime of Nicolas Maduro The Trump administration sanctioned one current and one former executive at PDVSA in July 2017 and sanctioned the company itself the next month Commerce and conflict The commerce secretary’s indirect business connection with Putin’s son-in-law and oligarch allies emerges from an examination of public records and a leak of millions of offshore financial documents from the Bermuda law firm Appleby obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and its global network of media partners They represent the inner workings of Appleby from the 1950s until 2016 The files include documents from Appleby’s corporate services division which became independent in 2016 under the name Estera The leaked files showed a chain of companies and partnerships in the Cayman Islands through which Ross has retained his financial stake in Navigator The fact that Ross’ Cayman Islands companies benefit from a firm controlled by Putin proxies raises serious potential conflicts of interest experts say As commerce secretary Ross has the power to influence US trade sanctions and other matters that could affect Sibur’s owners Likewise Sibur’s owners and through them Putin himself could have the ability to increase or decrease Sibur’s business with Navigator even as Ross helps steer US policy Richard Painter who served as chief ethics lawyer during the George W Bush administration said Ross might have to recuse himself from a range of sanctions decisions He added that while there was no inherent violation in Ross’ holdings the Navigator arrangement warrants closer scrutiny Commerce spokesman Rockas said that Ross “has never had to seek nor received any ethics exemption” and abides by the “highest ethical standards” Ethics exemptions are granted to allow officials to participate in issues where there might be a conflict of interest “Apart from those legal issues I’d be very concerned that someone in the US government was making money from dealing with the Russians and I’d want to know the facts” Painter said Layers and layers and layers and layers Before joining the Trump Cabinet the 79-year-old Ross was a titan in the world of private equity rounding up investors from around the world to put money into troubled companies in the hope of profitably turning them around When all went well he and his firm made money not only on their investments and management fees but also from a compensation system that allows the general partners who manage private equity funds to earn 20 percent of any profits that exceed a certain level Many of the private equity funds involved in these investments were created and administered by Appleby an offshore law firm headquartered in Bermuda The leaked files offer a window into how Appleby helped his firm WL Ross & Co LLC reap the benefits of offshore havens such as the Cayman Islands a British territory that permits extraordinary levels of financial secrecy and allows paper companies run from New York and elsewhere to operate there tax-free In 2015 the Cayman Islands was ranked fifth by the Financial Secrecy Index in its worldwide ratings Creating offshore funds organized as corporations can be a major draw for certain investors by allowing US tax-exempt organizations – including huge pension funds and richly endowed universities – to sidestep an Internal Revenue Service rule the requires them to pay taxes on income obtained using borrowed money They also help attract non-US investors because their names aren’t disclosed to tax authorities in the United States General partners in offshore private equity enjoy generous tax breaks in the United States as well including the ability to count the biggest share of their earnings from the fund as a long-term capital gain rather than ordinary income This allows the wealthiest fund managers to reduce the tax on these earnings from the top US rate of 396 percent to 20 percent When he was nominated as commerce secretary Ross filed an agreement with the federal Office of Government Ethics that said he intended to divest 80 companies and partnerships but would keep a stake in nine others that held assets in “real estate financing and mortgage lending” and “transoceanic shipping” The assets were not specified Even though he had sold WL Ross & Co to Invesco in 2006 he remained active as chair and CEO until resigning to join the Cabinet His financial disclosure form also filed with the Office of Government Ethics runs 57 pages and includes a long list under the heading “Employment Assets & Income and Retirement Accounts” This list is broken down into sections listing assets that appear to be held by each of Ross’ companies detailing as many as seven layers of entities between Ross and the assets he holds Buried in a multitude of subsections appear four cryptically named Cayman Islands entities that are among those he said he was keeping: WLR Recovery Associates IV DSS AIV GP; WLR Recovery Associates IV DSS AIV LP; WLR Recovery Associates V DSS AIV GP and WLR Recovery Associates V DSS AIV LP All four companies are administered by the Appleby law firm “Navigator Holdings” is listed among the assets these companies held but consistent with the format of the disclosure form no details about the company or its relationship with Sibur are provided The complexity of the offshore structures adds legal and reputational distance and obscures the full extent of Ross’s business relationships even as it allows him to profit from them according to tax and ethics experts consulted by ICIJ Ross’ disclosure values his combined current stake in the offshore entities that hold Navigator shares at between $205 million to $101 million But it is not certain what his total holdings are because he did not list a value for one of the four entities he retained It is not apparent why or whether a value was omitted His share represents a fraction of the entities’ overall 315 percent stake in Navigator which based on the firm’s stock price on Oct 30 2017 is worth roughly $179 million The value of Ross’ investment could change substantially by the time the funds that hold Navigator shares wind up – and holds a significant upside If the funds performs well enough the general partnerships in which he is invested stand to receive 20 percent of the entire funds’ profits In addition Ross has reported billions in assets to Forbes magazine that did not appear on his government disclosure forms which he later told the magazine he had placed in trusts that benefit his family members “The disclosure requirements weren’t written with WIlbur Ross in mind” said Kathleen Clark a law professor at Washington University in St Louis and an expert on government ethics “and I don’t think adequately provide the public or a government ethics official with an understanding of the wide variety of financial interests that he has” Ross hits a home run Ross started investing in Navigator in 2011 when WL Ross & Co acquired a 194 percent stake and his firm was granted two seats on Navigator’s board one of which Ross filled himself early the next year A few months later with a bankruptcy court judge’s approval WL Ross acquired a block of shares from the bankrupt financial services firm Lehman Brothers becoming Navigator’s majority shareholder In November 2013 Navigator went public Shares that WL Ross had bought for about $8 each were put on the market at $19 Afterward Ross bragged at a conference for shipping investors that the investment had been “a home run” Ross stepped down from Navigator’s board in November 2014 after he became vice chairman of the struggling Bank of Cyprus which was well known for its dealings with Russian oligarchs His Navigator board seat was taken by Wendy Teramoto managing director and partner of WL Ross & Co, For her children, A woman has the heart of a mother and a bigger heart than that of a man. 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