US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Monday hit back at media reports that he failed to properly disclose to Congress ties to a firm with links to Russia’s Kremlin.
Those reports said that details from the Paradise Papers – a leaked set of 13.4m confidential electronic documents relating to offshore investment havens – suggest that Ross did not disclose interests in shipping firm Navigator Holdings, which has close dealings with Sibur, a Russian energy firm.
Sibur’s owners include prominent advisors to – and family members of – Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In an interview with CNBC, Ross said that it was incorrect to say he had not disclosed the links, mentioning financial disclosure form 278 on which he said it was disclosed “three times”.
Ross added that there was nothing improper in the relationship, anyway, saying there were no US sanctions on Sibur and adding: “It was a normal commercial relationship and one that I had nothing to do with the creation of, and do not now the shareholders who were apparently sanctioned at some later point in time.”
London-based Navigator Holdings operates a fleet of handysize liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers. It earns millions of dollars transporting gas for Sibur.
In other interviews yesterday Ross suggested he was looking at selling his stake in Navigator.