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US Commerce Chief Tied to Russian Shipping Venture, Leaked Documents Show

November 6, 2017 by  

 

Ross sold off numerous holdings when he joined President Donald Trump’s Cabinet earlier this year to avoid conflicts of interest while he promotes U.S. commerce throughout the world. But he kept his Navigator stake, which has been held in a chain of partnerships in the Cayman Islands, an offshore tax haven where Ross has placed much of his estimated $2 billion in wealth.

‘Paradise Papers’

Ross did not disclose the Russian business link when he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as commerce secretary, but it surfaced in a trove of more than 7 million internal documents leaked from Appleby, a Bermuda-based offshore law firm that advises the wealthy elite on global financial transactions as they look to avoid billions of dollars in taxes. Appleby, says it has investigated all the allegations, and found “there is no evidence of any wrongdoing, either on the part of ourselves or our clients.”

The cache of documents, called the Paradise Papers, was first leaked to a German newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, and then shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and other media, including The Guardian in Britain, The New York Times and NBC News in the U.S., all of which reported on the Ross investment on Sunday.

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