Billionaire Wilbur Ross, 79, was sworn in today as secretary of commerce. According to DC Report, Ross' "role as Vice Chair and a leading investor in the Bank of Cyprus, the largest bank in Cyprus, one of the key offshore havens for illicit Russian finance," makes him a poor choice for this position. But the Senate voted 72-27 to confirm him anyway.
Ross’ involvement in the Bank of Cyprus raises many questions about his judgment, but also about the Trump Administration’s seemingly endless direct and indirect connections with friends and associates of Vladimir Putin, who all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies say conspired to interfere in the November 2016 U.S. election on behalf of Donald Trump.
Whether or not these connections involve any criminality, these are the kind of relationships that most American business people would not tolerate for 30 seconds.
After all, as discussed below, since the 1990s Cyprus has served as one the top three offshore destinations for Russian and former Soviet Union flight capital, most of it motivated by tax dodging, kleptocracy, and money laundering. As of 2013, just before the banking crisis, Russian deposits accounted for at least a third of all bank deposits in Cyprus. As one leading newspaper put it, “Russian money is in fact at the heart of the island’s economy.”
The Bank of Cyprus caters to the island nation’s large Russian population.
Nor is Ross’ Bank of Cyprus in particular – now probably at least half owned by Russians, as we‘ll see -- any stranger to money laundering, tax dodging, or odious finance. With a market share of 30 percent, Bank of Cyprus has long been the market leader in Cypriot financial chicanery.
The next Trump book you need to read, which I will as soon as it drops, is The Apprentice, by Washington Post Pulitzer winning natsec reporter Greg Miller.
“Michael Cohen knows information that would be of interest to the special counsel regarding both knowledge about a conspiracy to corrupt American democracy by the Russians and the failure to report that knowledge to the FBI,” said Lanny Davis, the attorney representing Cohen told MSNBC. Watch the video here. Yesterday Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign […]
Rick Gates, on the witness stand today in the trial of Paul Manafort, says he committed crimes with Manafort, and embezzled “hundreds of thousands” of dollars from Manafort.
Looking to de-clutter your kitchen counter? Start with those multiple, tangled charging cables for your multiple, power-hungry devices. There’s a workhorse solution for all those power needs, and it’s just as just as well suited to travel as home use: The Scout Wireless 5000mAh Charger. Compact and sleek at nine ounces, it doesn’t look like […]
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