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Response to SergeStorms (Reply #33)

Wed Aug 5, 2020, 10:45 PM

37. Wilbur Ross at Commerce, Cyprus, Deutsche Bank and to the recuse...

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

Questions raised over Trump appointee Wilbur Ross and his ties to politically connected Russian oligarchs


Stephanie Kirchgaessner
The Guardian, 23 March, 2017

Wilbur Ross, the Trump administration’s new commerce secretary, presided over a deal with a Russian businessman with ties to Vladimir Putin while serving in his previous role as vice-chairman of the Bank of Cyprus.

SNIP...

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.

Peter Harrell, who served as the deputy assistant secretary for counter-threat finance and sanctions in the State Department at the time and is now an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, said Cyprus was “obviously” one of the places the Obama administration was worried about at the time because it was seen as a place that could help Russian entities evade sanctions, imposed as a result of the conflict over Crimea.

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https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/mar/23/wilbur-ross-russian-deal-bank-of-cyprus-donald-trump-commerce-secretary

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