BBC reporter: U.S. commerce chief Ross says nothing improper about investments

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Navigator got 8 percent of its revenue past year shipping gas from Sibur. Sibur is part-owned by Kirill Shamalov, Putin's son-in-law, and by Gennady Timchenko, a friend of Putin's who was sanctioned by the US government in 2014, when Russian Federation seized Crimea from the Ukraine.

Wilbur Ross, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, said it's unfair for the U.S.to take on the world's trade surplus in its deficit.

The so-called Paradise Papers, leaked to several media outlets on Sunday, also provide insights into Queen Elizabeth II's offshore investments, report the Washington Post, Bloomberg News and Business Insider.

According to records unearthed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Ross has a financial interest in Navigator Holdings, a shipping firm closely connected with the Russian energy industry through its business relations with Sibur. Before that, he disclosed that he owns a stake in a shipping company called Navigator Holdings.

"There was disclosure, there is no impropriety and if people draw a contrary conclusion that's because the papers have twisted the story and made it into something that it's not there", Ross says.

"If he fails to present a clear and compelling explanation, he ought to resign", Blumenthal told MSNBC.

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In an earlier statement, a Department of Commerce spokesman said Ross "was not involved in Navigator's decision to engage in business with Sibur. has never met the Sibur shareholders referenced in this story and, until now, did not know of their relationship".

Secretary Ross was confirmed by the Senate in February 2017.

Paradise Papers leak from law firm show commerce...

But asked by Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell if he would look at additional areas for possible further recusals from potential conflicts of interest, Ross replied: "I intend to be quite scrupulous about recusal in any topic where there is the slightest scintilla of a doubt".

"We don't think it's inherent in a global trading system that one country, namely the USA, absorbs in its deficit the cumulative trade surplus of the entire rest of the world", Ross said in an interview aired Monday on CNBC.

Officials from Navigator could not be reached for comment. Appleby said there was no evidence of any wrongdoing.

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