NBC News reported Sunday Ross has an interest in Navigator Holdings, a shipping company, that’s partially owned by his old investment firm. One of Navigator Holdings’ top business relationships is with a Russian energy firm controlled by Putin’s son-in-law and other people close to Putin, according to the report.
The revelations come in a leak of seven million internal documents from Appleby, a Bermuda law firm, to a German newspaper. The documents were shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which won the Pultizer Prize for its investigative reporting on the Panama Papers.
Ross is one of about 120 politicians identified in the leak.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., is the top Democrat on the Senate Financial Committee. He said he feels Ross led the committee to believe he would be divesting from Navigator Holdings.
“I am astonished and appalled because I feel misled,” Blumenthal told NBC News. “Our committee was misled, the American people were misled by the concealment of those companies.”
The company’s second largest business relationship is with SIBUR, a massive Russian petrochemical company.
One of the company’s owners, Gennady Timchenko, is on the Treasury Department’s sanctions list and is not allowed to enter the United States.
Major shareholder Leonid Mikhelson has close ties to Putin and owns Novatek, which is a natural gas producer put on Treasury’s sanctions list in 2014.
Kirill Shamalov, the deputy chairman of SIBUR’s board of directors and a third shareholder in the company, is Putin’s son-in-law.
The Commerce Department said Ross is supportive of sanctions against Russians and does not deal with any matters regarding transoceanic shipping in order to avoid a conflict of interest.