IN THE DATA
Ross, a billionaire Wall Street investor known for buying distressed companies, was a major client of Appleby, which administered more than 50 companies and partnerships that invested in a range of industries on behalf of his private equity firm, W.L. Ross & Co, LLC. Ross divested himself of most of his business interests when he joined the Trump Cabinet in February 2017. But he kept a stake in the shipping company Navigator Holdings through a chain of companies in the Cayman Islands, Appleby’s files and public records show. Ross previously served on Navigator’s board, and WL Ross & Co., which he headed until joining the Cabinet, has been Navigator’s largest shareholder since 2012.
One of Navigator’s biggest clients is a Russian gas and petrochemicals company called Sibur, which has close ties to the Kremlin.
A spokesman for Ross said that he has never met Shamalov, Timchenko or Mikhelson. He said that Ross “recuses himself from any matters focused of transoceanic shipping vessels, but has been generally supportive of the administration’s sanctions of Russian and Venezuelan entities.”
IN THE DATA
Tillerson was a director of Marib Upstream Services Co., a Bermuda-based company created to conduct oil and gas operations in Yemen’s Marib-Al-Jawf basin. Tillerson joined the company’s board in March 1997, when he was the president of Exxon Yemen, and resigned in March 1998, according to Appleby’s client database.
Marib Upstream Services was a joint venture of three companies: the Yemen Gas Company, the Yemen Exploration & Production Company and the Yemen LNG Company. The Yemen Gas Company was state-owned, Yemen Exploration & Production Company was owned by Exxon Mobil and Hunt Oil, and the Yemen LNG Company had several shareholders, the largest of which is the French oil company Total. Marib Upstream Services operated in accordance with a production-sharing agreement between Yemen and the oil companies until 2005, when Yemen ended the production-sharing agreement and turned over production rights to a state-owned company.
Tillerson did not respond to a request for comment from ICIJ and its media partner The New York Times.
Whether these revelations will cause any turbulence in the current Cabinet, only time will tell.