Wilbur Ross stands to profit from company run by Russians, some of whom are under US sanctions
In 2014, Ross led a €1bn takeover of the Bank of Cyprus, a favoured destination for Moscow oligarchs seeking to store their wealth. The bank’s biggest shareholder at the time was the Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev. In 2008, as the US began to fall into a financial crisis, Rybolovlev bought a Florida mansion from Trump for $95m. The future president had paid $41m for it four years earlier.
Also invested in the bank takeover was the billionaire Russian industrialist Viktor Vekselberg. Vekselberg, who owns the world’s biggest collection of Fabergé eggs, attended the now infamous December 2015 dinner in Moscow for the Kremlin TV channel RT, where Trump’s future national security adviser Michael Flynn was photographed next to Putin.
Ross sat on the senior leadership team of Bank of Cyprus alongside Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, a former KGB colleague of Putin’s who is also on the board of several state corporations in Moscow.
And in 2015, while Ross was vice-chairman of the bank, its Russia-based businesses were sold off to Artem Avetisyan, a Russian businessman who had been appointed by Putin to lead an agency responsible for strengthening ties between the Kremlin and business.