Leaked papers show commerce secretary hid ties to Putin 'cronies'

Tillerson right was among the high-profile people named in the documents

Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossKushner to join Trump on first half of Asia tour: report Dem strategist: "Titans of Wall Street" in Trump admin inspire confidence China is dealing a blow to rural America, but Trump can stop it MORE failed to disclose shared business interests with Russian President Vladimir Putin's family, according to documents obtained by several news organizations.

Ross, a billionaire investor, holds a 31 percent stake in Navigator Holdings through a complex web of offshore investments detailed in leaked documents from a law firm examined by almost 100 news organizations as part of an global collaboration. The Russian firm is run by Putin's son-in-law Kirill Shamalov and other members of the Russian strongman's inner circle, some of whom have been sanctioned by the United States.

Commerce Department spokesman James Rockas said Ross "never met" Shamalov and has generally supported the Trump administration's sanctions against Russian Federation, according to the ICIJ report. It only emerged Sunday as part of the "Paradise Papers", a new report on more than 7 million documents leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the same group that spearheaded the sprawling Panama Papers investigation past year.

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Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said members of Congress involved in Ross' confirmation hearings believed he had divested all of his interests in Navigator and were unaware of its close ties to Russian Federation.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said members of Congress who were part of Ross' confirmation hearings were under the impression that Ross had divested all of his interests in Navigator. These interests were not disclosed in the filings he submitted to the government on January 15 as part of his confirmation process-disclosures which are supposed to be thorough, since the large number of Ross's holdings means that any one of them could be effected by him becoming commerce secretary. Furthermore, he said, they were unaware of Navigator's close ties to Russian Federation. "Our committee was misled, the American people were misled by the concealment of those companies". He also agreed, as required by law, to recuse himself from matters in which he would have a direct financial interest.

Even prior to Sunday's revelations about Michael Flynn, Russia has remained atop this week's headlines after it was revealed that former Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos secretly pled guilty to making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with statements involving Russia.

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