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The Russians

The “Russian” Connections

To be accurate, the former USSR.

Click to view full coverage of Trump’s Global Web of Partners by Forbes Staff      

The Curious World Of Donald Trump’s Private Russian Connections The American Interest

ZEMBLA: The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump: The Russians

Think You Know How Deep Trump-Russia Goes? Think Again: This Chart/Info Will Blow Your Mind Brian Frydenborg. The following Russians are numbered according to this chart and article for ease and reference through 72; Underlined have pages linked:

1. Donald Trump

2. Vladimir Putin

3. Semion Mogilevich-Russian Mob YBM Magnex International in Pennsylvania in 1995 that would be used to perpetrate a massive stock fraud worth $150 million on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

4. Jacob Bogatin

5. David Bogatin

6. Vyacheslav Ivankov

7. Mikhael Sheferovsky (Sater)-Felix’s Dad

8. Felix Sater, Bayrock

9. Boris Birshtein

10. Simona Birshtein Shnaider

11. Leonid Kuchma

12. Oleksandr Volkov

13. Alexander Mashkevich- Strategic partner of FL Group

14. Patokh Chodiev

15.Alexander Shnaider, VEB $ to Trump Toronto Russian State-Run Bank Financed Deal Involving Trump Hotel Partner Russian-Canadian developer put money into Toronto project after receiving hundreds of millions from deal involving VEB  Wall St. Journal  May 17, 2017  Alexander Shnaider, a Russian-Canadian developer who built the 65-story Trump International Hotel and Tower [Toronto], put money into the project after receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from a separate deal involving VEB” after financial difficulties.

16. Night Wolves

17. Dmitry Firtash

18. Igor Fisherman

19. Viktor Topolov

20. Leonid Roytman

21. Andrii V. Artemenko Met Michael Cohen and Felix Sater at the Loews Hotel, NYC Late January 2017 for a Ukraine Peace Plan

“But the proposal contains more than just a peace plan. Andrii V. Artemenko, the Ukrainian lawmaker, who sees himself as a Trump-style leader of a future Ukraine, claims to have evidence — “names of companies, wire transfers” — showing corruption by the Ukrainian president, Petro O. Poroshenko, that could help oust him. And Mr. Artemenko said he had received encouragement for his plans from top aides to Mr. Putin.” NY Times

22. Zeev Gordon

23.. Igor Makarov

24. William Sessions

25. Neil Livingstone

26. Ryan Zinke

27. Haley Barbour

28. Vikton Yanukovych

29. Paul Manafort

30. Rinat Akhmetshin, Trump Tower June 9, 2016  American-Russian lobbyist against the Magnitsky Act, attended June 9, 2016, Trump Tower: “18-year-old draftee for two years in a unit of the Soviet military that had responsibility for law enforcement issues as well as some counterintelligence matters .” was present at the June 9, 2016, meeting with Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Rob Goldstone and Natalia Veselnitskaya. Washington Post

31. Rick Gates

32. Oleg Deripaska Report: Russian Billionaire Linked To Manafort Seeks Immunity To Testify Oleg Deripaska, who had Trump’s former campaign manager on a $10 million annual contract, is apparently ready to sing. ” Huff Post   Oleg “Deripaska and Manafort worked together on an offshore fund in 2007 that quickly folded. But Deripaska also provided a $10 million annual contract to Manafort beginning in 2006 to promote Russian interests abroad, The Associated Press reported in March.  During the time of the contract, Manafort was working as a campaign consultant to candidates in the Ukraine backed by the Kremlin. Deripaska, who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, traveled several times to the U.S. from 2011 to 2014 on a diplomatic passport, according to the Times. He was unable to obtain regular business visas for travel to the U.S. because of suspicions by American officials that he was linked to the Russian mob — which Deripaska has denied.”    “Paul Manafort, who managed an investment fund for a Russian aluminum magnate with close ties to Putin. Manafort resigned from the campaign days after his name was found in a ledger designating funds to be paid out from the party of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted in a pro-European street revolution in 2014…Yevgen Kopachko, a pollster who worked with Yanukovych on parliamentary and presidential campaigns, said that Manafort had a “phenomenal ability to work with sociological information. In another business venture, Oleg Deripaska, a Russian aluminum magnate, accused Manafort in a court in the Cayman Islands of taking nearly $19 million intended for investments, then not accounting for the money, returning it or responding to numerous inquiries about exactly how the money was used. In his legal filing, Deripaska said he expected that the money would be used to make acquisitions in Russia, Ukraine and other countries in eastern and southern Europe. Instead, the petition argues, the partnership made only one purchase: buying a stake in Ukrainian cable television and Internet ventures. Deripaska, squeezed by the 2008 credit crunch, asked for the partnership to be liquidated and his money returned, according to Deripaska’s petition. But the filing said it was unclear who was controlling the Ukrainian cable TV and Internet assets and what happened to the money Deripaska initially provided.” Washington Post    Homepage: http://www.deripaska.com/     An Open Letter From Oleg In Response to Implied Allegations

33. Carter Page

34. Alijan Ibragimov

35. Alex Oronov, Father-in-law of Michael Cohen’s brother, Dead, set up Ukraine Peace Plan with Cohen, Sater, Artementko, a Ukrainian billionaire businessman who was connected by marriage to Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime lawyer and associate, died unexpectedly on March 2, 2017. Oronov’s daughter was married to Cohen’s brother. Oronov reportedly set up a January 2017 meeting between Cohen and Russian officials to discuss a possible “peace plan” between Russia and Ukraine that would have formalized Putin’s control over Crimea. The New York Times reported that this peace proposal was hand-delivered to Michael Flynn prior to his forced resignation. “The “peace plan” meeting brought together Mr Artemenko, Mr Cohen and Felix Sater, an American-Russian long-time business associate of Mr Trump who is reported to have ties to the Russian mafia.” Independent

36. Oksana Oronov Cohen

37. Bryan Cohen

38. Michael Cohen

40. Donald Trump Jr.

41. Basily Salygin

42. Sam Kislin

43. Igor Zorizn

44. Svyatoslav Mangushev

45. Tamir Sapir

46. Tevfik Arif

47. Ivanka Trump

48. Viktor Khrapunov

49. Eric Trump

50. Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov

51. Vadim Trincher

52. Anatoly Golubchik “Golubchik – who previously agreed to forfeit $20 million and cash and property to the government – was fined an additional $75,000 as part of the sentencing…legendary Russian gangster Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, who helmed the operation from overseas. Already wanted for trying to fix skating competitions at the 2002 Olympics, he has eluded capture for years despite extradition attempts. [Helly] Nahmad — who comes from an art-dealing clan whose collection includes 300 Picassos worth $900 million — is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday. Nahmad faces 12 to 18 months in prison under his plea agreement.” NY Post

53. Michael Sall

54. Denis Katsyv

The 42-year-old Veselnitskaya is also lawyer to Denis Katsyv, who has paid out millions of dollars in the wake of money-laundering cases brought by authorities in the U.S. and Israel, while assets linked to him have been frozen in the Netherlands and Switzerland, as previously reported by The Daily Beast.

The U.S. Department of Justice seized property owned by Denis Katsyv in Manhattan and the Netherlands valued at $15 million, alleging that money stolen in the fraud uncovered by Magnitsky had been funneled into Katsyv’s Prevezon company, which is registered in Cyprus.

The case brought by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was unexpectedly settled out of court on the eve of the trial in May, two months after Bharara was fired by Trump.

The agreement saw Prevezon pay the U.S. government $5.9 million, but the company did not accept responsibility for any wrongdoing.” The Daily Beast

The murder of Tax Attorney Sergei Magnitsky while representing Bill Browder’s Hermitage Capitol, who had been framed to cover for Prevezon’s crimes, developed into the Magnitsky Act Sanctions.

55. Petr Katsyv

56. Vladimir Yakunin

57. Dana Rohrbacher

58. Yury Chaika 

59. RInat Akhmetshin

60. Natalia Veselnitskaya

61. Alexander Mitusov

62. Jared Kushner

63. Ike Kaveladze- Attended June 9, 2016 Trump Tower Meeting, Representative of the Agalarovs

64.Aras Agalarov, Crocus Group, Trump Tower Moscow Co-Developer “Trump’s second Russian connection: Emin Agalarov, 37, the aspiring pop star. He also works with his billionaire father, Aras, 61, developing real estate projects. Their relationship with Trump began in 2013 when they paid the Trump Organization $7 million to bring the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow. (In addition to the contestants, Emin also performed.) The Moscow pageant went well enough for the Agalarovs to put together another plan with Trump–to build a Trump Tower in Russia. Before they could develop the plans very much, Trump announced his candidacy for president, and they put the project on hold. “If he hadn’t run for president, we would probably be in the construction phase today,” Emin says.” Forbes   

“The oligarch even persuaded Trump himself to appear in the video, and arranged for Emin to perform during the pageant’s worldwide broadcast, reportedly dismaying NBC executives.That capped an extremely high-profile two weeks for Aras Agalarov, who had received the Order of Honor of the Russian Federation from President Vladimir Putin just 10 days before the pageant.”  The Intercept

65. Emin Agalarov Emin was managed by Rob Goldstone. “In June 2016, Goldstone orchestrated a meeting between Donald Jr., President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Trump’s then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, TheNew York Times reported Monday. Goldstone emailed Trump Jr., promising “information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia.” The info was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump—helped along by Aras and Emin,” Goldstone wrote.”  The Daily Beast   July 11, 2017   “The plan [to make Emin a music star] was hatched in 2013, when the elder Agalarov paid Trump handsomely to bring his Miss Universe contestants to Moscow, where they were required to swoon in a music video intended to launch Emin’s singing career.” The Intercept

66. Lev Leviev

67. Rotem Rosen

68. Zina Sapir

69. Roman Abramovich

70. Dasha Zhukova

71. Marc Kasowitz

72. Sergei (Sergey) Gorkov, VEB Bank

Sergey Gorkov
Sergey Nikolaevich Gorkov

Kushner met at least once in December with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, and he also met last year with a Russian banker, Sergey Gorkov. Gorkov is chairman of VneshEconomBank (VEB), a Russian government-owned institution that has been under U.S. sanctions since July 2014. Gorkov studied at the training school for the FSB, one of Russia’s intelligence services.” NBC News     Rachel Maddow Reported on May 25, 2017: Putin Chaired the Board of Supervisors and is known to personally direct the activities of VEB, as he did when VEB financed the most expensive Olympics construction ever. VEB is under sanctions because of its links to and facilitation of activities for  the Russian government. …..  This year an undeclared Russian spy was released from federal prison in Ohio for serving while he was working as a top executive at VEB bank in New York City. The charging documents state he was trying to recruit Americans as agents for the Russian government including former Foreign Policy and Trump campaign Adviser Carter Page. Putin installed Gorkov as the head of VEB by Executive Order  February 26, 2016: “Sergei Gorkov, an energetic 47-year-old who was deputy chairman of the commercial bank Sberbank, has been trusted with the job of house-cleaning at the debt-ridden VEB. Gorkov has had a varied career. He has a law degree, joined the security services, worked in Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s oil firm Yukos, but then redeemed that black mark on his career by doing valiant service at Sberbank. “This is not the kind of appointment that President Vladimir Putin would have made in his earlier years. Before, Putin’s strategy was one of expansion. The goal was to dislodge members of Boris Yeltsin’s elite, bring governors to heel, win control over major companies, build state corporations, and pump them up with assets and resources. The main qualification for office was loyalty. That was controversial as professionalism was regarded as a lower priority than being “one of us.” Carnegie Moscow Center

73. Leonard Blavatnik, Republican Big Donor Founded Access Industries in 1986. Bought 20% of Tory Burch in 2004. The rise of billionaire Len Blavatnik, one of Wall Street’s greatest dealmakers Business Insider   February 25, 2016 “In 2011, AI purchased Warner Music Group for $3.3 billion and acquired Atlantic, Warner Bros. Records, Rhino, and Warner Music Nashville. Blavatnik also picked up Parlophone, a British music label that manages the likes of Coldplay and Two Door Cinema Club, for $742 million. Blavatnik recently teamed up with Hollywood talent manager Sarah Stennett to launch First Access Entertainment. The company will focus on talent and brand development, representation of recording artists and songwriters, and rights exploitation. Blavatnik owns AI Film, the independent movie and production company that’s behind acclaimed film Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” and “Rocketman,” the forthcoming Elton John biopic. During the Cannes Film Festival in France every year, Blavatnik hosts an exclusive luncheon aboard his yacht, The Odessa at Old Port, along with film partner and friend Harvey Weinstein of The Weinstein Company. He’s also invested in emerging technology companies Spotify and Beats Electronics. Billboard recently named him one of the 10 most powerful people in music. He has various investments in personal and commercial real estate, too. His company has been partnered with hospitality outfit Faena Group since 2000 to transform Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires, Argentina, into one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in Argentina. In 2014, AI acquired the One&Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island in the Bahamas for an undisclosed amount. The Blavatnik Family Foundation supports the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Royal Academy of Arts, and Colel Chabad, a 20,000-square-foot food bank and warehouse in Israel. In 2014, he made a donation of $20 million to Tel Aviv University to support scientific research.”Business Insider

74. Sergey Kislyak Russian Ambassador to the U.S., central to initial Russian investigations, he’s the man about Washington. He has his own Page Here. He had undisclosed meetings with Michael Flynn, Jeff Sessions, and Jared Kushner. Invited to the Oval Office with Sergey Lavrov the day after FBI Director James Comey was fired, which Trump tried to hide by forbidding US press and photographers, but Moscow tweeted photographic evidence May 10, 2017.

75.  Sergey Lavrov Russian Foreign Minister

76. Alexander Torshin

 77. Maria Butina Imprisoned Cooperating Witness, Butina worked for Alexander Torshin and trained as a special Russian operative to infiltrate the US & Republican Party via the NRA and her “Right To Bear Arms” organization out of South Dakota. She lived with Paul Erickson, charged by Mueller. Her US handlers were the Center for National Interest’s Dmitri Simes, who organized the Mayflower Hotel meeting April 27, 2016, and “Anton Fedyashin, Professor of History at the American University” where Butina was a MA student. Gordon UA 

78. Natalia Veselnitskaya, Trump Tower June 9, 2016, Prevezon Atty. against MAGNITSKY ACT Donald Trump Jr.’s Russian Connection Has Ties to Former Kremlin Spies The lawyer  [Natalia Veselnitskaya] who offered up Hillary dirt to the Trump campaign totally swears she doesn’t work for the Russian government. Her client list suggests otherwise.   July 11, 2017 updated July 12, 2017   The Daily Beast

June 9, 2016, Meeting with Trump Campaign and Veselnitskaya, arranged by email between Rob Goldstone, manager of Emin Agalarov on June 3, 2016, who was supposed to present damaging information on Clinton, according to Trump, Jr.’s statement. Trump Jr. Suggested a phone call with Emin on June 7. “Trump Jr. also said he invited Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort to attend the meeting, “but told them nothing of the substance.” “After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton,” Trump Jr. said in the statement.” CNN

“Natalia Veselnitskaya’s mission is to destroy the Magnitsky Acta package of U.S. sanctions that targets corrupt Russian officials and their comrades. She is alleged to have lured senior members of the Trump family into the meeting with a promise of compromising information about Hillary Clinton.” The Daily Beast

She tried to turn a Swiss investigator in Dec. 2016.

79. Anatoli Samochornov, Trump Tower June 9, 2016  The Daily Caller broke news of another attendee on June 9, 2016, Trump Tower: “Anatoli Samochornov, a Russia-born professional translator who worked as a part-time contractor for the State Department, worked with Veselnitskaya last year on an effort to roll back the Magnitsky Act, a law passed in 2012 which allows for sanctions against Russians accused of human rights abuses. [Update: Samochornov confirmed to other news outlets after this article was published that attended the Trump Tower meeting as Veselnitskaya’s translator.]  The Associated Press confirmed after NBC’s report that the Russian-American lobbyist is Rinat Akhmetshin.”

80. Dmitry Rybolovlev, Bought Trump Property, followed the Campaign The “King of Fertilizer”    MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show  Rybolovlev bought a Palm Beach, FL residence from Trump for $100 million in 2008, the most expensive home sale at the time and 2.5 times what Trump paid for it a few years earlier. His nearly $100 million private airplane is owned through a British Virgin Islands holding company, and from flight records it is determined that he was in Las Vegas on the same day Trump was holding a rally there, October 30, 2016.

While Trump rallied in nearby Concord, NC, on November 3, Rybolovlev’s airplane flew from New York to Concord, arriving at 9:30 am, and a few hours later flew from Concord to Charlotte, NC, where it was on the tarmac with Trump’s airplane.

February 11, 2017, while Trump entertained the Prime Minister of Japan at Mar-a-Lago which Maddow referred to as a “fake Situation Room out on the patio” during the N. Korean missile launch, Rybolovlev flew from Marseille, France, to Miami, arrived that Friday evening. To shield wealth from his wife during a divorce in roughly 2008, Rybolovlev bought a $150 mil private Greek island, a French soccer team, the most expensive NY apartment at the time. He is a major shareholder of the Cyprus Bank whose Vice Chairman, Wilbur Ross, is our current Commerce Secretary. March 10, 2017, His yacht was docked in the same marina as Robert Mercer‘s Sea Owl in the British Virgin Islands, where the holding company is based that owns his airplane.” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow

81. Alisher Usmanov, Gazprom Investment Holdings, USM Holdings  Wikipedia “He is the General Director of Gazprom Invest Holdings, the investment holding subsidiary of Russia’s state-owned gas company Gazprom.[48]. Usmanov is a close personal friend of Roman Abramovich, who owns Chelsea Football Club (Usmanov has a 30% stake in Arsenal Football club), and the two shared the same circle of friends in Russia (Usmanov even employed Abramovich’s first wife Olga to work for his company).[29] Usmanov has a 60% economic interest and 100% voting rights in USM Holdings, a global conglomerate with main investments in metals and mining industry, telecommunications, technology, and media.[33] Through USM Holdings and as an individual investor, Usmanov owns diverse interests including stakes in iron ore and steel, media and internet companies. He is the co-owner of Metalloinvest, which he founded along with business partner Vasiliy Anisimov in order to manage his acquisitions in the metal industry.[34] In November 2015 USM invested $100 million USD in competitive video game esports team Virtus Pro.[40] In May 2009, Digital Sky Technologies (which later changed its name to “Mail.ru Group”),[41] a company in which he owns a 17.9-percent stake,[42] paid $200 million for a 1.96-percent stake in social networking website Facebook.[43] Mail.ru made notable investments in other international technology companies, including TwitterGrouponZyngaAirBnBZocDocAlibaba and 360buy.[44] Consistent with its investment goals, in 2013 Mail.ru sold its share of Facebook for $525 million as well as its share of Groupon and Zynga.[45]The Alibaba investment was said by Usmanov to be up 500% in late 2014. The Facebook investment Usmanov implied he had sold, saying “I admire Facebook, but I said ‘arrivederci’ Facebook”. At the same time, he said he had made an investment in “Chinese low-cost smartphone maker Xiaomi“, saying it is a “future technology giant”, and that he is looking to invest in India, particularly the online trade sector.[46]Usmanov is a co-owner of Russia’s second-largest mobile telephone operator, MegaFon. The carrier’s subscriber based has grown significantly in the past decade, exceeding 65 million members.” Wikipedia

82. Roman Abramovich “Abramovich is the primary owner of the private investment company Millhouse LLC, and is best known outside Russia as the owner of Chelsea Football Club, a Premier League football club. According to Forbes 2016 billionaire list, Abramovich’s net worth was US$7.6 billion,[3] making him the 13th-richest person in Russia, and the 151st-richest person in the world.n 2015, Abramovich invested and led a $30 million round of funding in Israeli music sharing start-up Music Messenger founded by OD Kobo.[41][42][3]”

He worked his way up, selling rubber ducks from his apartment, then started trading in financial markets. “In 1995, Abramovich and Boris Berezovsky, an associate of President Boris Yeltsin, acquired the controlling interest in the large oil company Sibneft. The deal was within the controversial loans-for-shares program and each partner paid US$100 million for half of the company, above the stake’s stock market value of US$150 million at the time, and rapidly turned it up into billions…Abramovich was the first person to originally recommend to Yeltsin that Vladimir Putin be his successor as the Russian president.[44]:135 When Putin formed his first cabinet as Prime Minister in 1999, Abramovich interviewed each of the candidates for cabinet positions before they were approved.[27]:102 Subsequently, Abramovich would remain one of Putin’s closest confidants. In 2007 Putin consulted in meetings with Abramovich on the question of who should be his successor as president; Medvedev was personally recommended by Abramovich.[44]:135, 271

Chris Hutchins, a biographer of Putin, describes the relationship between the Russian president and Abramovich as like that between a father and a favorite son. Abramovich himself says that when he addresses Putin he uses the Russian language’s formal “Вы” (like Spanish “usted”, German “Sie”, Italian “lei” or French “vous”), as opposed to the informal “ты” (Spanish “tú”, German “du”, Italian “tu” or French “tu”). Abramovich says that the reason is because ‘he is more senior than me’.[45]Within the Kremlin, Abramovich is referred to as “Mr A”.[40]” Wikipedia

Lithuanian and Jewish, Abramovich is Chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (which is allied with Putin’s administration), a trustee of the Moscow Jewish Museum[9] and donates money to the Chabad movement.[10]  “The Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FCJR) is a Russian religious organization, unifying communities of Orthodox Judaism, mostly of Chabad Hassidicmovement. It was registered by Ministry of Justice of Russia in 1999.” Wikipedia

On February 14, 2013, his yacht, “The Eclipse” docked in Manhattan for Dasha to give birth. CNBC   He publicly separated from wife of 10 years, Dasha Zhukova around August 7, 2017. “Meanwhile, the 36-year-old was seen enjoying herself with wealthy New York socialites and was spotted on a quiet dinner with the boyfriend of supermodel Karlie Kloss – Joshua Kushner. She spent her birthday in New York with her two children and was photographed not wearing her wedding ring on June 8.  It is not clear at this stage if they have a prenuptial agreement. The daughter of Russian oil magnate Alexander Zhukov, she is extremely wealthy in her own right.” Daily Mail

83. Mikhael Kalugin “identified as the Steele Dossier Russian spy under surveillance at the US Embassy, and the key player in the election scheme, suddenly pulled back to Moscow.”4/3/17 Keith Olberman

84. Vitaly Churkin, Dead, Russian UN Ambassador, died of “cardiac arrest” on February 20, 2017. “For a decade, it was Churkin who raised his arm to veto numerous resolutions ranging from the Syrian crisis to the Malaysia Airlines crash over eastern Ukraine. He stood firm in supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad‘s regime against Western attacks. And he cited US policy in Libya as a symbol of failure by Western countries who favored regime change…”Devastated by passing of UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin,” [Former US Ambassador Samantha] Power tweeted. “Diplomatic maestro & deeply caring man who did all he (could) to bridge US-RUS differences.” CNN      Analysis: What Vitaly Churkin’s death means for the United Nations

85. Sergei Ryabkov Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who said in an interview with the Interfax news agency that “there were contacts” with the Trump team. “Obviously, we know most of the people from his entourage,” Ryabkov said. “We have just begun to consider ways of building dialogue with the future Donald Trump administration and channels we will be using for those purposes,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying. Ryabkov provided no further details, and his remarks drew a swift denial from Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks, who said the campaign had “no contact with Russian officials” before Tuesday’s election.” Washington Post

86. Yuri Dubinin 1986:Donald Trump is seated next to Russian Ambassador Yuri Dubinin at a lunch organized by Leonard Lauder, the son of cosmetics scion Estée Lauder, who at the time is running her cosmetics business. “One thing led to another, and now I’m talking about building a large luxury hotel across the street from the Kremlin” in partnership with the Soviet government, Trump later writes in his 1987 book, The Art of the Deal. Also present at the event is Russian diplomat Vitaly Churkin, later the Russian ambassador to the United Nations. (Churkin died in February 2017 at 64.)” Mother Jones

87. Leonid Reshetnikov, Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, RISS, run by Mikhail Fradkov as of January 2017 https://en.riss.ru/    RISS is Putin’s in-house foreign policy think tank, which drafted two proposals on how to sway the election in Trump’s favor in June 2016 and October 2016. Reuters

88. Giorgi Kvirikashvili “Honored to welcome Georgia Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili to the @WhiteHouse today with @VP Mike Pence. “— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2017 https://t.co/EAPvsrbrUOpic.twitter.com/FnKkuWLFDp

89. Igor Divyekin Internal Political Department of the PA (Presidential Administration) Christopher Steele Dossier  “3. Speaking separately, also in July 2016, an official close to Presidential Administration Head, S. IVANOV, confided in a compatriot that a senior colleague in the Internal Political Department of the PA, DIVYEKIN (nfd)also had met secretly with PAGE on his recent visit. Their agenda had included DIVEYKIN raising a dossier of ‘kompromat’ the Kremlin possessed on Democratic presidential rival, Hillary CLINTON, and its possible release to the Republican’s campaign team.

However, the Kremlin official close to S. added that s/he believed DIVEYKIN also had hinted (or indicated more strongly) that the Russian leadership also had ‘kompromat’ on TRUMP which the latter should bear in mind in his dealings with them.  19 July 2016″

FBI has questioned Trump campaign adviser Carter Page at length in Russia probe Washington Post June 26, 2017

90. Sergei Ivanov Head of US Presidential Administration (PA) within Russian government. In the Christopher Steele Dossier 

“Speaking in early August 2016, two well-placed and established Kremlin sources outlined the divisions and backlash in Moscow arising from the leaking of Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mails and the wider operation being conducted in the US. Head of Presidential Administration, Sergei IVANOV, was angry at the recent turn of events.

He believed the Kremlin “team” involved, led by presidential spokesman Dmitriy PESKOV, had gone too far in interfering in foreign affairs with their “elephant in a china shop black PR”. IVANOV claimed always to have opposed the handling and exploitation of intelligence by this PR “team”.

Following the backlash against such foreign interference in US politics, IVANOV was advocating that the only sensible course of action now for the Russian leadership was to “sit tight and deny everything”.

2. Continuing on this theme the source close to IVANOV reported that PESKOV now was “scared shitless” that he would be scapegoated by PUTIN and the Kremlin and held responsible for the backlash against Russian political interference in the US election. IVANOV was determined to stop PESKOV playing an independent role in relation to the US going forward and the source fully expected the presidential spokesman now to lay low. position was not helped by a botched attempt by him also to interfere in the recent failed coup in Turkey from a government relations (GR) perspective (no further details).”

91. Dmitry Medvedev (DAM)  Dmitry Medvedev: the whipping boy for Russia’s discontented The corruption allegations that led to street protests add to the air of disappointment surrounding the country’s prime minister The Guardian

Christopher Steele Dossier  “3. The extent of disquiet and division within Moscow caused by the backlash against Russian interference in the US election was underlined by a second source, close to premier [Russian Prime Minister] Dmitriy MEDVEDEV (DAM). S/he said the Russian prime minister and his colleagues wanted to have good relations with the US, regardless of who was in power there, and not least so as to be able to travel there in future, either officially or privately. They were openly refusing to cover up for PESKOV and others involved in the operations or to support his counter-attack of allegations against the USG for its alleged hacking of the Russian government and state agencies.

4. According to the first source, close to IVANOV, there had been talk in the Kremlin of TRUMP being forced to withdraw from the presidential race altogether as a result of recent events, ostensibly on grounds of his state and unsuitability for high office. This might not be so bad for Russia in the circumstances but in the View of the source, it remained largely wishful thinking on the part of those in the regime opposed to PESKOV and his “botched” operations, at least for the time being.  5 August 2016″

92. Aleksej Gubarev Wikipedia: “Aleksej Gubarev, chief of technology company XBT and a figure mentioned in the [CHRISTOPHER STEELE] dossier, sued BuzzFeed for defamation on February 3, 2017. The suit, filed in a Broward County, Florida court,[76] centers on allegations from the dossier that XBT had been “using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct ‘altering operations’ against the Democratic Party leadership”.[77] In the High Court of Justice, Steele’s lawyers said that their client did not intend for the memos to be released, and that one of the memos “needed to be analyzed and further investigated/verified”.[78]  [76]. Rosenberg, Eli (February 4, 2017). “Russian Executive Sues BuzzFeed Over Unverified Trump Dossier”. The New York Times.  [77.] Goldstein, David; Hall, Kevin G.; Gordon, Greg (February 3, 2017). “BuzzFeed sued over its publication of uncorroborated Trump dossier”. McClatchy DC.  [78.] Cohen, Marshall (May 2, 2017). “Spy behind Trump dossier says info was never meant for public eyes”. CNN. Retrieved May 3, 2017

93. Konstantin Sidorkov, VK Russian social media executive sought to help Trump campaign in 2016, emails show By Rosalind S. Helderman, Anton Troianovski, Tom Hamburger  Washington Post December 7, 2017  “While mainly used by Russian-speaking users, the site has also become known in Europe — and increasingly in the United States — as a platform embraced by white-nationalist groups, according to groups that track their activity. Far-right politicians in Germany and other countries have VK profiles, Albright said. The website also directed substantial amounts of traffic to ­ Breitbart News and Infowars, a popular conservative conspiracy site, during the 2016 campaign, he said. The overture with VK was brokered by Rob Goldstone, a British music promoter who asked Trump Jr. last year to meet with a Russian lawyer who he said had compromising information about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The executive at Vkontakte, or VK, Russia’s equivalent to Facebook, emailed Donald Trump Jr. and social media director Dan Scavino in January and again in November of last year, offering to help promote Trump’s campaign to its nearly 100 million users, according to people familiar with the messages.

“It will be the top news in Russia,” Konstantin Sidorkov, who serves as VK’s director of partnership marketing, wrote on Nov. 5, 2016.

While [Dan] Scavino expressed interest in learning more at one point, it is unclear whether the campaign pursued the idea. An attorney for Trump Jr. said his client forwarded a pitch about the concept to Scavino early in the year and could not recall any further discussion about it. Scavino, now the White House social media director, did not respond to requests for comment. A White House spokeswoman declined to comment. The emails, which were read to The Washington Post and confirmed by people with knowledge of their contents, show a new point of direct contact between an influential Russian and advisers to Trump during the 2016 race. “Please feel free to send me whatever you have,” Scavino wrote to Goldstone on Jan. 19. “Thank you so much for looking out for Mr. Trump and his presidential campaign.”

A few days later, Sidorkov emailed Scavino, Trump Jr. and Donald Trump’s longtime assistant Rhona Graff.

“Nice to meet you and your team,” Sidorkov wrote, attaching information about VK and its social media reach. Sidorkov joined VK as a partner relations manager in July 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile. He had apparently crossed paths with Trump at least once before, at the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. Sidorkov posted photographs from the ­after-party on his VK page, including one in which Trump posed with a thumbs up next to Olivia Culpo, the previous year’s winner, and musician Nick Jonas. Sidorkov said he was 18 and working for a radio station during the event and had not met Trump personally but rather taken pictures while standing in a crowd.

Sidorkov — a young, jet-setting tech executive who documents his frequent travels on Instagram and other sites — posted a photograph this July posing next to Vladi­mir Putin. The Russian president had just participated in a Q-and-A session with schoolchildren and VK users. “I’m following up on an email [from] a while back of something I had mentioned to Don and Paul Manafort during a meeting recently,” Goldstone wrote to Scavino on June 29. Goldstone wrote that his client, Emin Agalarov, and a “contact” at VK wanted to create a “Vote Trump 2016” promotion.

“I’m following up on an email [from] a while back of something I had mentioned to Don and Paul Manafort during a meeting recently,” Goldstone wrote to Scavino on June 29. Goldstone wrote that his client, Emin Agalarov, and a “contact” at VK wanted to create a “Vote Trump 2016” promotion.

“At the time, Paul had said he would welcome it, and so I had the VK folks mock up a basic sample page, which I am resending for your approval now,” Goldstone wrote. “It would merely require Mr. Trump to drop in a short message to Russian-American voters or a generic message, depending on your choice, and the page can be up and running very quickly.”

He indicated that he was copying Sidorkov, “a good friend,” on his note, “as he would oversee the promotion of the page.” Excerpts of the email were first reported by CNN. Ike Kaveladze [63.], a U.S.-based representative for the Agalarovs, attended the Trump Tower meeting but said the VK page idea was not discussed, according to his attorney Scott Balber.

“It absolutely did not come up,” he said. Balber, who also represents the Agalarovs, added that he had no reason to believe his clients “knew anything about this.”

The VK proposal was not mentioned in notes taken by Manafort during the meeting, which have been turned over to Congress, according to a person who has seen them. Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, declined to comment.” Washington Post

94. Dimitri Simes, a President and CEO of The Center for the National Interest. Gordon UA Arranged April 27, 2016 Mayflower Hotel Russian Policy Speech. Richard Burt, US Lobbyist shaped Trump’s speech on April 27, 2016. “Simes’s questionable connections were also noted. In his article titled “Donald Trump’s Russia connections: Realists with Moscow Ties Are Lining Up Behind Republican Frontrunner” published on April 27, 2016, James Kirchick observed that “The Center for the National Interest, former Nixon Center, a hosting institution for Trump’s first foreign policy speech and the adviser who helped writing the speech have multiple long-term ties to the Kremlin.”
“In 2005 two English-language Russian sources, a Russian-American newspaper Kommersant and Moscow Times reported that “Simes had met with the Kremlin adviser Gleb Pavlovsky and Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska  —  Putin’s close ally, a man on FBI organized crime list and Paul Manafort’s former business partner”  —  to discuss forming a Russian-funded think tank.” Gordon UA

95. Gleb Olegovich Pavlovsky “Russia Institute” President Carnegie Moscow Center,Political Scientist, Soviet Dissident, Publishing & Website. PBS Frontline Interview.  Putin reshapes his inner circleAugust 12, 2016 Financial Times.  Russia’s System of Managed Chaos by Gleb Pavlovsky October 20, 2015 .  Hybrid War: Russia vs. the West

96. Anton Fedyashin, Professor of History at the American University, handler for Maria Butina with Dmitri Simes

97. Yeveniy Prigozhin  Internet Research Agency- Conducted social media attack on US election

99. Ivan Timofeev-Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs email exchange with Papadopoulos inviting Trump to meet Russians April 2016

100. Konstantin Klimnik GRU, Ukraine-born, Interpreter worked with Manafort after Orange Revolution in 2004 for Yanukovych in Ukraine through re-election in 2010

101. Ed Lozansky Professor at American University who established Republican connections after moving to US in 1976; founded Young Republican National Federation in Moscow after re-marriage in 1982, then Russia House & its World Russia Forum

 

Wilbur Ross

Wilbur Ross, Secretary Of Commerce

1990s board of US-Russia Investment Fund, Rothschild Inc’s bankruptcy advising team, WL Ross & Co

Neighbor of Trump in NY and at Mar-a-Lago, Wilbur Ross cut a favorable deal along with Carl Icahn, resigned Regulatory Adviser, in the Taj Mahal Casino bankruptcy case while representing Trump’s creditors. This saved Trump’s business.

Getting Donald Out Of Debt: The 25-Year-Old Ties That Bind Trump and Wilbur Ross  Forbes December 8, 2016

“Trump made a bold bet on Atlantic City when he opened a third casino there — the colossal Taj Mahal — in April 1990. Even riskier: He financed the project with $675 million in junk bonds at a 14% interest rate. Within months Trump was struggling to make the massive bond payments as Atlantic City floundered. In stepped Ross, then head of Rothschild Inc’s bankruptcy advising team, to represent bondholders, who were pondering forcing the casino into involuntary bankruptcy and ousting Trump. Ross reportedly saw crowds pressed against Trump’s limo windows to get a peek at the mogul, and realized the value of Trump’s celebrity. He struck a prepackaged bankruptcy deal: Trump would give up 50% of his stake in the Taj but would receive better debt terms and would remain in control. The Donald was back in business: He ultimately made similar deals for his other troubled properties and climbed out of debt and back onto the Forbes 400. Nearly all of Trump’s wealth is tied up in real estate, but he has also owned stocks. One holding, according to a May 2016 filing: $250,000-$500,000 worth of Invesco European Growth Fund Class Y shares. (Trump claims to have sold his stock holdings in June, though he has not provided evidence to support the claim.) Ross went into private equity in 2000, forming WL Ross & Co. He still runs it, but he sold it to investment firm Invesco in 2006 for some $375 million. In 2013 Invesco partnered with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and others to buy 5 industrial properties from the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn for $240 million.” Forbes

Russiagate Investigation:

Known Senate and House Intelligence lines of questioning:

Wilbur Ross is Vice Chairman of the Bank of Cyprus and a major stakeholder, oversaw its restructuring.

  • Viktor Vekselberg, 2nd largest shareholder of the Bank of Cyprus, Putin friend, Renova Corp, formerly Rosneft board.
  • U.S. Russia Investment Fund (TUSRIF) under Clinton
  • 2008 transfer of the investment arm of TUSRIF to Deutsche Bank
  • Ross appointed Josef Ackermann to be the Chairman of the Board for the Bank of Cyprus from Deutsche Bank, the Trump Organization’s Largest Creditor. “Ackermann’s ties to Russia were especially strong, including a warm relationship with Putin and Herman Gref of Sberbank. In 2015, while he served as vice-chairman of the Bank of Cyprus, the bank’s Russia-based businesses were sold to a Russian banker and consultant, Artem Avetisyan, who had ties to both the Russian president and Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank. At the time, Sberbank was under US and EU sanctions following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.” The Guardian
  • Dmitry Rybolovlev co-invested in the Bank of Cyprus and bought over-inflated home from Trump
  • Loans and Contacts between Bank of Cyprus and Bank of Cyprus to the Trump Campaign,Trump Organization, its directors or officers, or any affiliated individuals or entities

The Paradise Papers linked Ross to Navigator Holdings (Boardmember) and Sibur

BBC“Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has an interest in Navigator Holdings, which earns millions a year transporting oil and gas for Russian energy firm Sibur. Two major Sibur shareholders are under some form of US sanctions. “Secretary Ross recuses himself from any matters focused on transoceanic shipping vessels,” the spokesman told BBC Panorama. Another Sibur shareholder is President Putin’s son in law, Kirill ShamalovHe holds a 3.9% stake in the firm. Gennady Timchenko, who has been individually sanctioned by the United States, as have at least 12 companies connected to him, and Leonid Mikhelson, whose main company, Novatek, is also sanctioned, are major shareholders. Sibur itself and Mr Shamalov are not under sanctions, although Mr Shamalov’s father, Nikolai, is.”

 


 


Wilbur Ross and Steve Mnuchin—Profiteers of the Great Foreclosure Machine—Go to Washington The Nation Mnuchin and Ross led companies that committed fraud to foreclose on millions of homeowners. Now they will be in charge of the entire US economy. What could go wrong? By David Dayen NOVEMBER 30, 2016

Wilbur Ross’s $4.5 billion divorce. He hid money around the world. Dmitry  “The King Of Fertilizer” Rybolovlev bought an overvalued mansion from Trump.  The Rachel Maddow Show: New Commerce Secretary at nexus of lucrative Trump Russian deal NBC. February 27, 2017 With a line that runs through newly confirmed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Rachel Maddow connects the dots between a billionaire Russian oligarch and a Donald Trump deal worth tens of millions of dollars.”


Exclusive: Trump commerce pick Wilbur Ross faces new Russia questions McClatchy BY KEVIN G. HALL  FEBRUARY 16, 2017

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Benefits From Business Ties To Putin’s Inner Circle International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

  • Owns a stake through offshore entities in Navigator Holdings, a shipping firm that receives millions of dollars from a company owned by Vladimir Putin’s close allies.
  • Relationship poses potential conflicts of interest for Ross, who plays a major role in U.S. economic relationships with other countries, including Russia.
  • Ross’ continuing Navigator investment was so indirectly disclosed that Senators who voted on his confirmation didn’t know about it.

November 5, 2017- He founded WL Ross & Co in 2000, a private equity firm that acquires struggling companies and sells them for a profit.  “It engineered the purchase of bankrupt American steel producers and reaped huge profits when the George W. Bush administration imposed a 30 percent tariff on steel imports in March 2002.

His newly formed International Steel Group went public the next year and was acquired by Luxembourg giant ArcelorMittal in 2005. Ross’ firm went on to invest in other struggling American industries, including textiles in the South and coal in Appalachia. Ross gained a reputation as a financier who breathed life into industries others had left for dead.

But he has been criticized for moving American jobs overseas to improve profits. His private equity firm has also run afoul of securities regulations that require full and candid disclosure in dealings with investors.” ICIJ.org 

Vice chairman of Bank of Cyprus PcL. and his namesake investment firm owns 1.6% of the Cypriot bank which WL Ross & Co obtained at a share price of $.024 after the July 2014 bailout, down 26% in 2017. Working with Deutsche Bank AG CEO Josef Ackermann to improve the Bank of Cyprus. Sold WL Ross & Co in 2006. Russian oligarchs create political party in Cyprus

“Ross, who’s worth about $2.9 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index. A fund overseen by WL Ross is one of the biggest shareholders in the Cypriot lender, which is the nation’s largest. Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg owns 5.5 percent through his Bahamas-based Renova Group. Ross sold his firm to asset manager Invesco Ltd. in 2006. While Ross’s investments in Bank of Cyprus and a stake in Greek lender Eurobank Ergasias SA for an undisclosed amount haven’t paid off, he has fared better in the U.K. and Ireland. In Britain, his fund teamed up with Richard Branson’s Virgin Money Holdings UK Plc in 2011 to acquire the best parts of failed bank Northern Rock from the government. Ross sold the last of his stake in Virgin Money in November to bring total proceeds of about 550 million pounds ($681 million) on a 360 million-pound investment. In 2014, he sold his shares in Dublin-based Bank of Ireland Plc for a profit of about 500 million euros.” Bloomberg

WL Ross & Co invested in Navigator in 2011.

Trump’s commerce secretary oversaw Russia deal while at Bank of Cyprus

The Guardian March 23, 2017

In 2014, the Bank of Cyprus was still considered to be in a precarious state following a dramatic €10bn rescue of Cyprus’s banking sector by the ECB and the IMF. Under the terms of the deal, many of the bank’s wealthy Russian deposit holders lost their cash and became shareholders in the bank.

Ross, who had made billions of dollars years earlier by betting on bankrupt steel mills, was known for taking risky bets. But his decision to inject €400m into the bank with other investors encompassed a different kind of risk. It put him at the centre of the biggest financial institution in a country that was widely considered to be a tax haven for Russian oligarchs, even as the US and EU were imposing sanctions on Russia. In 2014, the year he made his investment, the US State Department considered Cyprus an area of “primary concern” for money laundering (pdf), according to its official assessment.

Ross was appointed vice-chairman at the bank after his investment in 2014, a post he shared with a deposit holder-turned-shareholder, Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, referred to in Russian media as a former KGB official and Putin ally. According to the bank’s annual reports, the two attended two board meetings together in 2014 and as many as five together in 2015 before Strzhalkovsky’s May 2015 resignation from the board. One of the questions that has been posed to Ross by Democratic senators is whether he ever had contact with Strzhalkovsky.

One of Ross’s first big decisions at the bank was the appointment of former Deutsche Bank chief executive Josef Ackermann as chairman, whom he chose in part because of Ackermann’s “huge Rolodex”, according to a 2014 Bloomberg interview.

Ackermann’s ties to Russia were especially strong, including a warm relationship with Putin and Herman Gref of Sberbank.

In 2015, while he served as vice-chairman of the Bank of Cyprus, the bank’s Russia-based businesses were sold to a Russian banker and consultant, Artem Avetisyan, who had ties to both the Russian president and Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank. At the time, Sberbank was under US and EU sanctions following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Avetisyan had earlier been selected by Putin to head a new business branch of the Russian president’s strategic initiative agency, which was tasked with improving business and government ties.

Avetisyan’s business partner, Oleg Gref, is the son of Herman Gref, Sberbank’s chief executive officer, and their consultancy has served as a “partner” to Sberbank, according to their website. Ross had described the Russian businesses – including 120 bank branches in Russia – as being worth “hundreds of millions of euros” in 2014 but they were sold with other assets to Avetisyan for €7m (£6m).

Ross has not been accused of wrongdoing and there is no indication the Russian deal violated US or EU sanctions. Ross resigned from the Bank of Cyprus board after he was confirmed as commerce secretary last month.

Democrats raised questions about Ross’s tenure at the Bank of Cyprus before his confirmation, but Ross has said the White House has refused to allow him to respond to the queries. Senator Cory Booker and other Democrats recently sent a third letter to Ross with more questions, including whether Ross had ever done business with companies that were under US sanctions.” The Guardian

Exclusive: Trump commerce pick Wilbur Ross faces new Russia questions

“The letter cited reporting by McClatchy last December about Vekselberg, who sits atop the Renova Corp., a Russian conglomerate. Aside from his friendship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Vekselberg at one time served on the board of directors of the Russian state-controlled oil giant Rosneft. It is under a partial sanction by the U.S. Treasury Department.” McClatchyDC

Trump’s pick for commerce leaves Russia questions unanswered

M FEBRUARY 26, 2017

“Ross had little history in global banking, but in 2011 he took an ownership stake in Bank of Ireland, the only bank in that nation the government didn’t seize. Ross tripled his investment when he sold his Irish stake in June 2014, then months later, he took a gamble on Bank of Cyprus.

Six Democratic senators, led by Florida’s Bill Nelson, asked for details about his relationship with big Russian shareholders in Bank of Cyprus, including Viktor Vekselberg, a longtime Putin ally, and Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, a former vice chairman of Bank of Cyprus and a former KGB agent believed to be a Putin associate.

Aides to several of the senators confirmed late Friday that Ross hadn’t responded to their questions. The White House sent McClatchy to a Commerce Department transition aide, who didn’t respond to questions.

Ross was involved with Russia during the 1990s when President Bill Clinton appointed him to serve on the U.S-Russia Investment Fund. The U.S. government set up an investment fund in 1995 to help push the new Russian nation toward a free-market economy after the Soviet Union collapsed.

 The fund was converted to a nonprofit corporation in 2008 and many of its assets sold off. The banking investments were purchased by a subsidiary of German financial giant Deutsche Bank, led at the time by Josef Ackermann. Ross asked Ackermann to serve as chairman of the reconstituted Bank of Cyprus after his 2014 investment.

Ackermann left Deutsche Bank in 2012. The bank paid $7.2 billion in fines last year to the U.S. government over toxic mortgages it packaged and sold between 2005 and 2007. And last month, the bank agreed to pay almost $630 million to regulators in London and New York to end investigations into complex stock trades in Russia between 2011 and 2015.

Cyprus also features prominently in the Panama Papers, the massive leak of offshore company data from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.”


WikipediaHe was a banker, known for restructuring failed companies in industries such as steel, coal, telecommunications, foreign investment and textiles. He specializes in leveraged buyouts and distressed businesses. As of February 2017, Forbes magazine has reported that Ross has a net worth of $2.5 billion.[1]

Ross is known as the “King of Bankruptcy” for his experience in buying bankrupt companies, primarily in the manufacturing and steel industries, and later selling them for a large profit after operations improve.[3]”  Wikipedia


Ross as the Secretary of Commerce and Alex Acosta as Secretary of Labor preside over the Apprenticeships program, provided by Executive Order on June 15, 2017. He will have up to 20 unpaid staff who interface with corporations to determine apprenticeship opportunities for future employment needs.

Shipper NAVIGATOR HOLDINGS Cayman Islands connection Revealed by The Paradise Papers: WL Ross & Co is the largest shareholder at 31% and Navigator’s top clients include Russian energy co. Sibur

Commerce Secretary’s Offshore Ties to Putin ‘Cronies’ NY Times

Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, retained investments in a shipping
firm with business ties to Russian President Vladimir V. Putin’s inner circle.

“Mr. Ross’s stake in Navigator has been held by a chain of companies in the Cayman Islands, one of several tax havens where much of his wealth, estimated at more than $2 billion, has been tied to similar investment vehicles. Details of these arrangements surfaced in a cache of leaked files from Appleby, one of the world’s largest offshore law firms, which administered some 50 companies and partnerships in the Caymans and elsewhere connected to Mr. Ross.

The Appleby documents, obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, were shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and other media organizations, including The New York Times. They show how the Bermuda-based Appleby worked to help the wealthy elite, from Russian oligarchs to Middle Eastern princes, as well as multinational corporations like Apple and Nike, avoid billions of dollars in taxes. In a written response to questions by the Times, James Rockas, a spokesman for Mr. Ross, said that Navigator’s relationship with Sibur began before Mr. Ross joined the board in March 2012, and that he had never met the Russian oligarchs who are Sibur’s major shareholders. Public records show that Mr. Ross’s firm became a major investor in Navigator in November 2011, three months before the company chartered its first ships to Sibur. Another of Navigator’s major customers is PDVSA, the Venezuelan state oil company, controlled by the authoritarian regime of Nicolás Maduro. The Trump administration imposed sanctions on PDVSA this summer.

Much like President Trump, whose company sought approval for a hotel project in Moscow as recently as last year, Mr. Ross has long shown an appreciation for the untapped potential of Russian markets when seeking investment opportunities. His involvement there dates at least to the 1990s, when he was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the board of the U.S. Russia Investment Fund, established to promote American business interests in Russia.

In addition to Navigator, his firm also acquired a German rail car company, VTG, which pursued an expansion strategy in Russia before Mr. Ross sold his stake in 2016. And Mr. Ross led a private bailout of the Bank of Cyprus, long regarded as a favorite financial haven of wealthy Russians, after the worldwide economic crisis crippled the Cypriot banking system.” NY Times


Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross benefits from business ties to Putin’s inner circle   ICIJ.org

“Ross, a billionaire private equity investor, divested most of his business assets before joining President Donald Trump’s Cabinet in February, but he kept a stake in the shipping firm, 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 31.5 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.

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 U.S. 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 U.S. policy.

Many of the private equity funds involved in these investments were created and administered by Appleby, an offshore law firm founded 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 U.S. 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-U.S. 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 U.S. rate of 39.6 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 $2.05 million to $10.1 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 31.5 percent stake in Navigator, which, based on the firm’s stock price on Oct. 30, 2017, is worth roughly $179 million.” ICIJ.org


THE PARADISE PAPERS

ICIJ Investigation

“The Süddeutsche Zeitung obtained close to 13.4 million documents. They demonstrate how some clients use offshore companies to mask criminal activity or conceal money from dubious sources. The documents, for instance, expose previously unknown links between a secretary in U.S. President Donald Trump’s cabinet and Russian oligarchs. In fact, information on more than a dozen of Trump’s advisers, cabinet members and major donors can be found in the leaked data.”

“The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and 95 media partners explored 13.4 million leaked files from a combination of offshore service providers and the company registries of some of the world’s most secretive countries. The Paradise Papers documents include nearly 7 million loan agreements, financial statements, emails, trust deeds and other paperwork from nearly 50 years at Appleby, a leading offshore law firm with offices in Bermuda and beyond.” ICIJ.org

From Utah, Secretive Help for a Russian Oligarch and His Jet NY Times

Records leaked from an offshore law firm show how the wealthy elite sidestep
prohibitions on foreigners registering private planes in the United States.

“Still, the Bank of Utah executives were surprised to learn that they had aided Mr. Mikhelson, the Russian oligarch. When told the name of the offshore shell company that Mr. Mikhelson used to manage his Gulfstream jet, Mr. Croasmun interrupted the interview to check the bank’s files. He confirmed that the shell company had been a client since 2013 — but information identifying Mr. Mikhelson as the man behind it “was nowhere that I saw in the files.”

According to a flow chart created by Appleby’s Isle of Man office for the Mikhelson account, the ownership chain for his jet began in Panama, with a company called Golden Star Aviation, which registered on the Isle of Man and then leased the aircraft to a Cayman Islands company called SWGI Growth Fund. Both companies were controlled by Mr. Mikhelson.

A due-diligence report by Appleby noted Mr. Mikhelson’s source of wealth — valued currently at about $18 billion — from oil and gas investments, notably through Novatek, Russia’s largest nongovernment-owned gas company. Mr. Mikhelson’s main business partner is Gennady Timchenko, a close friend of Mr. Putin’s. The two businessmen are the primary investors in Sibur, a Russian gas-processing company.


Paradise Papers: Commerce chief Wilbur Ross’s links with sanctioned Russians

Image copyrightAFPWilbur Ross has played a key part in Donald Trump's business and political careers
Wilbur Ross has played a key part in Donald Trump’s business and political careers

“A top member of Donald Trump’s administration has business links with Russian allies of President Vladimir Putin who are under US sanctions, the Paradise Papers have revealed.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has an interest in Navigator Holdings, which earns millions a year transporting oil and gas for Russian energy firm Sibur.

Two major Sibur shareholders are under some form of US sanctions. A commerce department spokesman did not dispute the revelations.

“Secretary Ross recuses himself from any matters focused on transoceanic shipping vessels,” the spokesman told BBC Panorama, adding that the secretary “works closely with Commerce Department ethics officials to ensure the highest ethical standards”.

Another Sibur shareholder is President Putin’s son in law, Kirill Shamalov.

He holds a 3.9% stake in the firm. Gennady Timchenko, who has been individually sanctioned by the United States, as have at least 12 companies connected to him, and Leonid Mikhelson, whose main company, Novatek, is also sanctioned, are major shareholders.

Sibur itself and Mr Shamalov are not under sanctions, although Mr Shamalov’s father, Nikolai, is.

Graphic showing Wilbur Ross: The Russian connection?
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The commerce department spokesman said Mr Ross had never met the three Russian shareholders.

The US imposed some sanctions after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Others were imposed last year for alleged interference in the US presidential election.

The revelations will again raise questions about the Russian connections of Donald Trump’s team. His presidency has been dogged by allegations that Russians colluded to try to influence the outcome of the election. He has called the allegations “fake news”. A special counsel is investigating the matter.

Wilbur Ross and Donald Trump have known each other for more than a quarter of a century. Mr Ross played a key part in a prepackaged bankruptcy deal – deal agreed between a company and its creditors – for Mr Trump’s Atlantic City casino, the Taj Mahal, in the 1990s.

Trump biographer David Cay Johnston told BBC Panorama: “If it hadn’t been for Wilbur Ross, Donald Trump would not be in the White House.

Major client

WL Ross & Co, which was founded by Wilbur Ross, first invested in Navigator Holdings in 2011.

An investigation has revealed details of how Mr Ross retains a financial interest in Navigator Holdings via a number of companies in the Cayman Islands.

Some of these Cayman companies were disclosed by Mr Ross when he became commerce secretary, but under the disclosure rules he did not have to declare his interest in Navigator Holdings.

Its annual report in 2016 showed 31.5% was still held by entities in which Mr Ross has a stake, although the value of Mr Ross’s personal holding remains unclear.

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When Trump met Ross

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESDonald Trump at the Taj Mahal casino in 1990
Image captionDonald Trump at the Taj Mahal casino in 1990

Back in 1990, after a high-profile financial battle, Donald Trump opened his third casino in Atlantic City – the Taj Mahal, dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world”. It didn’t go well. Mr Trump financed it with $675m raised through junk bonds at an interest rate of 14%. He struggled to make the payments. Step in Wilbur Ross. Then at Rothschild Inc, he was representing the angry bondholders but liked Donald Trump’s style. Trump biographer David Cay Johnston said: “Wilbur Ross was a key negotiator in Donald Trump not having to go through bankruptcy and not being swept into the dustbin of history because he saw the value in the Trump name.”

Mr Ross said at this year’s Concordia Annual Summit: “When you meet people who are under tremendous financial pressure… you really get to see what they are made of, and he was made of much stronger stuff than a lot of owners of troubled businesses.” One prepackaged bankruptcy later and The Donald was on his way out of debt and heading up the Forbes rich list.

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Wilbur Ross became a board member of Navigator in 2012 but the commerce department said he was not on the board when Navigator signed its charter deal with Sibur that year.

But Mr Ross was still a board member during the period from March to November 2014, when the US was sanctioning Russians over the annexation of Crimea, including Mr Timchenko and Mr Mikhelson’s company, Novatek.

During that period Navigator continued to increase its business with Sibur. The energy firm accounted for 9.1% of Navigator’s total revenues in 2015, compared with 5.3% in 2014, Navigator’s own filings show.

Mr Ross left Navigator’s board in November 2014 but his seat was taken by Ross group partner Wendy Teramoto, who served on it until 2017.

Figures from 2016 showed Sibur was still among Navigator’s top five clients, predominantly exporting Russian gas to Europe and potentially providing significant income to sanctioned Putin allies.

This year, Navigator doubled the fleet it is using on Sibur exports to four. Sibur has provided Navigator with $68m (£49m) in revenue since 2014. There is no suggestion Mr Ross has violated any rules.

But Daniel Fried, who oversaw the introduction of US sanctions against Russia under President Barack Obama, told Panorama that it would be a mistake for any American official to do business with Sibur.

“I would advise any client who came to me to stay well away from Sibur or anybody else who has been sanctioned or has a relationship with sanctioned individuals… on the grounds, at least, of reputational risk.”

But Mr Ross appears to have maintained a close relationship with the shipping company.

On the night that he was nominated as commerce secretary by President Trump, Mr Ross went to a restaurant in New York where he was congratulated on his promotion by the senior management of Navigator Holdings, Bloomberg reported .

Mr Ross reportedly told the CEO of Navigator: “Your interest is aligned to mine. The US economy will grow, and Navigator will be a beneficiary.”

Another key Navigator customer has been PDVSA, the Venezuelan state oil company. It was targeted by US sanctions this year.

The commerce department said Mr Ross had “been generally supportive of the Administration’s sanctions of Russian and other entities”.

 

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