Wilbur Ross And Bank Of Cypress, Deutsche And Alfa Banks Are Dots To Be Connected. But while several of Mr. Trump’s closest allies have come under scrutiny for Kremlin ties, Mr. Ross, who was confirmed by the Senate on Monday, was no friend to the Russians in Cyprus — and in fact, he forced them out of the bank. In 2014, the year he made his investment, the US State Department considered Cyprus an area of “primary concern” for money laundering (pdf), according to its official assessment. The Americans: Wilbur Ross, Donald Trump, and two banks. In a speech in the Senate on Monday, Senator Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, complained that the White House was “sitting on” the replies. associate. “We are interested in keeping the Russian business community,” he said. All rights reserved. But if the Bank of Cyprus goes down, Cyprus goes down, too.”, New Commerce Secretary Was No Friend to Russians at Cyprus Bank. A spokeswoman for Avetisyan declined to comment. Ross was appointed vice-chairman at the bank after his investment in 2014, a post he shared with a deposit holder-turned-shareholder, Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, referred to in Russian media as a former KGB official and Putin ally. The Bank of Cyprus said the sale of its Russian business was part of a restructuring plan to dispose of non-core assets and that the deal had been agreed after a “rigorous sale process involving experienced external advisers”. “He has not been an accomplice of the Russians but the opposite,” Loizos Hadjicostis, president of the Cyprus Union of Bank Employees, said in an interview. It is the largest bank in Cyprus by market penetration, with 83% of Cypriots having active Bank of Cyprus accounts, representing a 60% share in total corporate accounts and a 40% share of the overall banking sector. For a time, Mr. Rybolovlev, who has had tense and even hostile relations with the Kremlin, was the biggest shareholder in the Bank of Cyprus. Recapitalization by the Bank of Cyprus in 2014 succeeded in righting the ship, but it greatly diluted the ownership stakes of Russian shareholders. Ross, who had made billions of dollars years earlier by betting on bankrupt steel mills, was known for taking risky bets. Under the terms of the deal, many of the bank’s wealthy Russian deposit holders lost their cash and became shareholders in the bank. On June 2, Secretary Ross filed a compliance form with the OGE, in which he reported divesting some of his Bank of Cyprus shares. Bank of Cyprus said the extension was provided because of the “worsening geopolitical situation in Ukraine”. Angelos Tzortzinis for The New York Times. The request follows the billionaire’s investing over €400 million in Cyprus’ biggest bank. “Nobody could tell the Russians that they could not invest, but they are proud people and they could see that this was an attempt to keep them out — or at least minimize their influence,” said Mr. Papaconstantinou, who lost his seat on the bank’s board in the purge that started after Mr. Ross’s arrival. The government, he said, had no business deciding who invests in a private bank, and no interest in expelling the Russians. This happened when the Cypriot authorities, desperate for cash to prop up failing banks, confiscated billions of dollars in deposits held in the Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank, also known as Cyprus Popular Bank, which had failed. “None of them were bankers,” he said. “Wilbur Ross was kind of a savior,” said Andreas Neocleous, the founder and chairman of the biggest law firm in Cyprus, which bears his name and has many Russian clients. -Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross led a group of U.S. and European investors to purchase a $1.3 billion stake in Bank of Cyprus in July 2014 when the bank was on the verge of … In a June 2013 letter to the European Central Bank pleading for help, the Cypriot president, Nicos Anastasiades, described the Bank of Cyprus as a “mega-systemic bank” on which the future of the island depended. According to bankers, lawyers and others who have worked closely with the Bank of Cyprus, within months of Mr. Ross’s becoming a shareholder in the summer of 2014, all six Russians who were on the board when he arrived, including Mr. Putin’s former K.G.B. “They could offer nothing.”. Ross resigned from the Bank of Cyprus board after he was confirmed as commerce secretary last month. The transaction raises questions about Ross’s tenure at the Cypriot bank and his ties to politically connected Russian oligarchs. Wilbur L Ross Jr, the self-made billionaire specialising in leveraged buyouts who is pumping 400 mln euros into Bank of Cyprus, is confident that the island’s economy will get a major boost from the newly-found energy sector that will drive the bank’s recovery. WL Ross & Co. CEO Wilbur Ross on his leading investment into Bank of Cyprus. Wilbur Ross, the Trump administration’s new commerce secretary, presided over a deal with a Russian businessman with ties to Vladimir Putin … But the bank conspicuously stayed away from Moscow. "He has never met Wilbur Ross." Many of these seized deposits belonged to Russians who, as partial compensation, received Bank of Cyprus shares. "Following the 2013 bail in at Bank of Cyprus, Mr Rybolovlev's previous shareholding in the bank was diluted to a very low level," Chernitsyn said. “The buyer was both unknown to and unconnected to members of Bank of Cyprus Group’s board of directors,” the bank said. It comes amid confirmation by the FBI that it is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow to influence the outcome of the presidential election. Mr. Spanos was appointed to the Central Bank of Cyprus Board in May 2013, of which he is a former director. But Harrell, the former Obama administration official, said he found connections between Russia and the Trump administration to be “strange and troubling” and that he included Ross’s tenure at the Bank of Cyprus among the “long list of concerns”. Other businesses under the FBI’s purview but not covered in this post are … Ross, is "progressing at a good pace regarding its recovery plan" based on the bank's 2014 results. In the process, he lost $600 million, his lawyer said. But his decision to inject €400m into the bank with other investors encompassed a different kind of risk. There are certain entities which keep popping up which are tied to Russia and the republican President Donald Trump’s finances which include Deutsche Bank, Bank of Cyprus, Alfa Bank, and the Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Some of those are happy, like how nice it was that Secretary of Commerce (and “King of Bankruptcy”) Wilbur Ross had a bank perfectly suited to launder … Mr. Ross became vice chairman of the bank in November 2014 and gave up this position after his confirmation as commerce secretary. “Ross came in to block the Russians, not to help them,” he added. Ross was running the Bank of Cyprus at the time Russia was using his bank to illegally launder money into the United States, and probably into the hands of Donald Trump. It was clear, he said, that “Ross was there to benefit the interests of the U.S. and Britain,” Cyprus’s former colonial master, but the Russians “just wanted their money back” and came around to the view that the American investor was the best hope for keeping the bank afloat. “He knows of no loans or interaction between the bank or anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign or organization,” the senator said. “In that role, he had a duty to get the best deals for his company, which is a skill he will now bring to bear for the American people,” the spokesman said. Its share price is still lower than what he paid in 2014. They have included Dmitri Rybolovlev, a Russian billionaire who paid $95 million in 2008 to buy a Florida mansion from Mr. Trump, who had purchased it for less than half that just a few years earlier. This has led to speculation in Cyprus that Mr. Ross came into the bank as part of an operation arranged by Mr. Anastasiades with help from Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who visited the island in 2014. NICOSIA, Cyprus — When Wilbur L. Ross, a billionaire American investor, bought shares in the Bank of Cyprus three years ago, he found himself part owner of a big but failing bank with a vice chairman who used to work with Vladimir V. Putin in the Leningrad K.G.B. The core assets had been purchased for €450m in 2008. A spokesman for the commerce department said Ross had been a successful chairman or lead director of over a hundred companies and was an “incredibly successful investor who made the best business decisions possible”. Mr. Anastasiades, in an interview, denied having asked Mr. Biden to help line up investors for the Bank of Cyprus so as to break the grip of Russian shareholders. © 2021 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. The president’s critics wanted to know if Mr. Ross had ever met with Russian intelligence, or if the bank ever gave favorable loans to the new president. 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