United States commerce chief Ross says nothing improper about investments - BBC reporter

Brendan Mc Dermid  Reuters

Brendan Mc Dermid Reuters

Ross was responding to reports on Sunday about his investments stemming from the so-called Paradise Papers, a trove of leaked documents about offshore investment that relate to the affairs of wealthy individuals and institutions ranging from Ross to Britain's Queen Elizabeth and trading firm Glencore.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is reporting on a leak of 13.4 million records of offshore entities in tax havens.

A Commerce Department spokesman told Fox News that Ross has been supportive of sanctions against Russian Federation and, as commerce secretary, has recused himself on decisions or policy relating to oceanic shipping.

Reuters has not independently verified the documents. Sibur is part-owned by Kirill Shamalov, Putin's son-in-law, and by Gennady Timchenko, a friend of Putin's who was sanctioned by the US government in 2014, when Russian Federation seized Crimea from the Ukraine.

"There was disclosure, there is no impropriety and if people draw a contrary conclusion that's because the papers have twisted the story and made it into something that it's not there", Ross says.

USA media, citing leaked documents from an offshore law firm, said partnerships used by Ross have a 31 percent stake in Navigator Holdings, which the New York Times said earns millions of dollars a year transporting gas for Russian petrochemical firm Sibur.

Blumenthal called for an investigation and hearings.

A spokesman for Ross said Navigator's business dealings with Sibur began before the commerce secretary joined the board in 2012, and Ross never met the oligarchs who are Sibur shareholders.

Ross failed to disclose the business relationship during his Senate confirmation process.

Paradise Papers leak from law firm show commerce... Ocean shipping is regulated by the Federal Maritime Commission, an independent agency.

Appleby disclosed a data breach past year in an October 24 statement.

"We don't think it's inherent in a global trading system that one country, namely the USA, absorbs in its deficit the cumulative trade surplus of the entire rest of the world", Ross said in an interview aired Monday on CNBC.

"This was not the work of anybody who works at Appleby", the firm with offices in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong and other offshore jurisdictions said.

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