Russia Insists #ParadisePapers Deals Were Legal

Russia on Monday downplayed leaks in the Paradise Papers concerning Russian officials and companies, insisting the deals were legal and not politically motivated.

The Queen Victoria Memorial statue is pictured in front of Buckingham Palace, the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II, in central London on November 6, 2017. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has business ties to a shipping firm linked to Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, according to a vast leak of financial documents that also revealed Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II’s investments in tax havens. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

One of the companies mentioned in the papers, petrochemicals giant Sibur, slammed media reports on the findings, while confirming the facts.

In a statement reported by Russian news agencies, Sibur voiced its “amazement at the politically charged interpretation in some media of ordinary commercial activity.”

The leaks revealed that US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has ties to a shipping firm called Navigator Holdings, which has a contract with Sibur.

Sibur confirmed that it works with Navigator Holdings, making up 2.8 percent of its logistics spending, or $15.9 million, in the first half of 2017.

A billionaire reported to be President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law, Kirill Shamalov, owns a 3.9 percent stake in Sibur, according to Vedomosti business daily.

Gennady Timchenko, Putin’s friend and business partner who is subject to US sanctions, owns 17 percent of Sibur, Vedomosti reported.

Sibur said that it had thoroughly checked whether there were any restrictions on its activities due to a shareholder (Timchenko) being under sanctions, but “did not find any such restrictions.”

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