More Russian connections: If there’s no fire, this is one helluva lot of smoke
Commerce Secretary-nominee Wilbur Ross, still awaiting confirmation, faces new questions about his banking ties to Russia, the latest member of the Trump team to be embroiled in the controversy over alleged ties to the Kremlin.
Ross was sent a letter late Thursday by six Democratic senators questioning the billionaire financier about his ownership stake in the Bank of Cyprus, on which he still serves as vice chairman of the board of directors. The six senators demanded answers about his relationship with Viktor Vekselberg, the second largest shareholder in the bank.
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.
The senators, led by Florida Democrat Bill Nelson, also want to know about Ross’s relationship with Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, a former vice chairman of Bank of Cyprus, a former KGB agent and believed to be a longtime associate of Putin. The letter sent to Ross on Thursday afternoon noted that Russian shareholders had at one point been the largest stakeholders in the bank he rescued in September 2014 amid a financial crisis in Cyprus.
Senators joining Nelson, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, were . . .