Grifters Gotta Grift
When last we checked in with the Living Unisom, Wilbur Ross had shorted the Russian stock Navigator Holdings, the SEC was investigating him for insider trading, and he had neglected to update his financial disclosure forms.
So guess what! 18 months or so after being installed in the Fourth Reich, he’s finally divested his stock portfolio! Yay! But wait, what’s Forbes Magazine (the preferred magazine of featherweight S&M enthusiast Comrade Trump) telling us:
“The announcement came the same day that the federal government’s top ethics official sent Ross a letter making it clear he had eroded public trust and scolded him for filing false and incomplete documents. The letter also said an official at the Department of Commerce had reviewed Ross’ calendars to see if the commerce secretary broke the law by taking actions that affected his financial interests. “He found no information indicating any such violation.”
“Forbes, however, has found information indicating otherwise. A detailed review of Ross’ calendar from February to November 2017—his first months in office—reveals dozens of meetings with companies tied to his personal fortune, which he built up over years in private equity. Last March, his calendar lists a meeting with the CEO of Boeing, a company in which Ross’ wife held nearly $3 million worth of stock. In April, his schedule includes another with Minister Ali Shareef Al Emadi, who serves on the board of Qatar Investment Authority, a sovereign wealth fund that pumped money into one of Ross’ private equity vehicles. In July, September and October, Ross’ agenda lists talks with Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, which called a business Ross partly owned a “top performing global supplier.” And so on, and so on. “Secretary Ross and [chief of staff] Wendy Teramoto have not taken any action with a direct and predictable effect on their financial holdings,” a spokesman for the commerce department said in a statement. “This applies to all the meetings.”
And I am the Czarina of all the Russias.
Anyway, the Forbes article is quite a treat. It seems an old-school grifter like Wilbur can make quite a fortune regulating his portfolio before divesting it just before the trade wars clobber it… which I suppose could be more insider trading?