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Thread: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Failed To Disclose Ties To Vladimir Putin

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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Failed To Disclose Ties To Vladimir Putin

    11/05/2017 02:02 pm ET Updated 2 hours ago

    Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Failed To Disclose Ties To Vladimir Putin

    The Trump Cabinet member shares business interests with the Russian president’s son-in-law.

    By Igor Bobic

    U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross shares business interests with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law, a connection that he failed to disclose earlier this year during his confirmation hearing for his Cabinet post, NBC News reports.

    Ross’ link to Putin appears in the Paradise Papers, a leaked trove of millions of financial documents made public on Sunday by a partnership of media organizations and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

    Ross, a billionaire industrialist and a close friend of President Donald Trump, continues to hold a stake in a Russian shipping firm controlled by a Russian oligarch, Putin’s son-in-law, and other members of Putin’s inner circle, according to the documents.

    Daniel Fried, an assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs under President George W. Bush, told The Guardian that Ross’ ties to Putin’s “cronies” could undermine U.S. sanctions on Russia.

    In January, ahead of his confirmation, Ross agreed to sell some but not all of his global assets that posed a conflict of interest to his future position. He also agreed, as required by law, to recuse himself from matters in which he would have a direct financial interest.

    Ross’ spokesman told The Guardian that his stake in the Russian firm would not conflict with his duties as commerce secretary and that Ross “recuses himself from any matters focused on transoceanic shipping vessels.”

    Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who sits on the Senate Commerce Committee, said Ross “misled” him and the committee by failing to disclose links to Russian interests.

    “With Wilbur Ross revelations, question must be asked - whose interests come first in this Administration?” Blumenthal asked Sunday on Twitter.

    Ross is only the latest high-ranking member of the Trump administration who failed to disclose ties to Russia or Russian officials.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions is being called by Democrats to testify again before the Senate Judiciary Committee to clarify past claims that he was unaware of any communication between members of Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian officials. According to recently unsealed court documents, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos spoke multiple times with Russians about setting up a meeting between Putin and then-presidential candidate Trump, and that Sessions was at the gatherings where Papadopoulos discussed the topic.

    Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian officials during the presidential campaign. The plea came as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

    This post was updated with reaction from Sen. Blumenthal.

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/wilbur-ross-russia-putin_us_59ff5495e4b04cdbeb33f901
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    MW
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    Geez, does it ever end?

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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    MW likes this.
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    MW
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    That's probably why Trump always spoke so highly of Putin and Russia during the campaign. I suspect he was influenced by those he chose to surround himself with.

    From the beginning my assessment of Wilbur Ross was that he was just another big ole gator for the swamp.

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    Turns out Wilbur Ross isn’t a billionaire. Uh-oh.

    By Dana Milbank Opinion writer November 8 at 2:55 PM
    Oh, Wilbur.

    President Trump’s billionaire commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, has a big problem: He is apparently not a billionaire.


    Forbes magazine, keeper of the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans, reports that it dropped Ross from its list this year because of a “phantom $2 billion” that Ross claimed he had but apparently does not exist. Instead of the $3.7 billion Ross claimed he was worth (Forbes last year put it at $2.9 billion), his financial disclosures showed — gasp — less than $700 million in assets.

    Most Americans, upon being told they were worth “only” $700 million, would say: Please don’t throw me into that briar patch! But Ross was disgraced, and mad. He claimed to Forbes that he transferred $2 billion into trusts for his children and others but offered no proof, and this claim was contradicted by his own staff.

    Forbes performed some forensics and concluded that Ross has been lying for years about his wealth. As for the missing $2 billion, Forbes reports:
    “Forbes is confident it has found the answer: That money never existed. It seems clear that Ross lied to us, the latest in an apparent sequence of fibs, exaggerations, omissions, fabrications and whoppers that have been going on with Forbes since 2004.

    In addition to just padding his ego, Ross’ machinations helped bolster his standing in a way that translated into business opportunities. And based on our interviews with ten former employees at Ross’ private equity firm, WL Ross & Co., who all confirmed parts of the same story line, his penchant for misleading extended to colleagues and investors, resulting in millions of dollars in fines, tens of millions refunded to backers and numerous lawsuits.”


    It was a beautiful business model: If he appeared to be richer than he was, more rich people gave him their money to invest.

    Rich people like rich people. But now, at a paltry $700 million, he’s a nobody.


    I empathize with Ross. Each year I tell People magazine that I should be featured in its Sexiest Man Alive issue. I explain that my biceps and pecs are much larger than they appear because I have transferred several inches into a trust for my children. But I never make the cover.


    Ross has a problem I do not have, however. He is in Trump’s Cabinet because he is a putative billionaire, and Trump respects only billionaires and generals. He fired Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price for hiring private jets on the taxpayer’s dime, but there was suspicion that the real cause for his dismissal was his inability to afford his own private jet. He sacked Anthony Scaramucci after a profanity-laced tirade, but perhaps the real reason is he learned the Mooch was worth only about $50 million. No wonder Scaramucci demanded the FBI investigate “the leak of my financial disclosure,” which was a “felony.” (He didn’t realize “disclosure” meant it would be “disclosed.”)


    It probably won’t help that news of Ross’s missing $2 billion comes just after the discovery from leaked documents that he invested some of the precious millions he does have in a venture with people very close to Vladimir Putin.


    Forbes’s Dan Alexander reports that Ross has been conniving for 13 years to inflate his wealth in the Forbes tally, which was based on an error — counting all of his investors’ money as his own. The listing reportedly serves as an attractant to Ross’s third wife.


    Starting to sound a bit familiar? Well, consider that Ross’s former colleagues also told Forbes that Ross bends the truth. Yes, he has much in common with a certain orange person who Forbes dropped 92 spots on the Forbes 400 last month.

    Trump, at $3.1 billion, insists he is worth more but refuses to prove it.
    The two truth-challenged men have been pals since at least 1990, when they worked out a deal for Trump’s Taj Mahal casino, which was “careening toward bankruptcy,” Forbes reports. Surely these two men, both skilled in illusion and deception, can together come up with a better explanation for what happened to Ross’s $2 billion.

    He bought 2 billion rolls of very good paper towels for Puerto Rico?


    He gave it to Trump because Trump’s accountant warned that he would “get killed” by his own tax plan?


    He used it to hire tutors for Donald Trump Jr.?


    He paid for Omarosa Manigault’s bridal party at the White House?


    He donated it to all the veterans charities Trump promised to support?


    He spent it at the bar at the Trump International in Washington?


    Heck, Ross would even be better off claiming he lost all $2 billion on a failed business deal with Putin.


    In Trump world, it is better to have been a billionaire and lost than never to have been a billionaire at all.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...=.6210fd3c438f

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    MW
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    Forbes performed some forensics and concluded that Ross has been lying for years about his wealth. As for the missing $2 billion, Forbes reports:“Forbes is confident it has found the answer: That money never existed. It seems clear that Ross lied to us, the latest in an apparent sequence of fibs, exaggerations, omissions, fabrications and whoppers that have been going on with Forbes since 2004.
    Not surprising, "big ole gators" are known to lie when it suits their agenda.

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