MOSCOW (AP) – Disclosures of connections between Russia, Donald Trump and his big business advisers have cast an ominous cloud over the White House. But experts say some of the connections are just the expected result of doing business in Russia, a nation whose major corporations often are controlled by the Kremlin.
In the latest example, a shipping company partly owned by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has transported liquefied petroleum gas for a Russian gas giant.
Questions are being raised as to whether that’s a relationship that’s tainted. After all, Russia is accused of trying to disrupt the 2016 presidential election.
FILE – In this Oct. 12, 2017, file photo, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross appears before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Capitol Hill in Washington. In an echo of the Red Scare that consumed the nation for generations, business relationships once seen normal now appear tainted if they are connected at all to Russia. A shipping company partly owned by Ross, President Donald Trump’s commerce secretary, is one of the few in the world that can transport liquefied petroleum gas in cold and icy conditions. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Shipping analysts note that Ross’ company is one of the few that can transport LPG in Russia’s brutally cold winters. They say this looks like plain old business.
Russian tycoon Gennady Timchenko attends a meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin with members of the presidential council for physical culture and sports in the southern city of Krasnodar, Russia, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Timchenko has a range of business interests and was a key shareholder in oil trading firm Gunvor until 2014, when he sold his stake to his co-founder after he came under U.S. sanctions. Timchenko also owns 17 percent of Sibur, the Russian chemicals and gas company that has worked with a shipping company in which Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is an investor. (Sergei Karpukhin/Pool Photo via AP, File)
FILE – In this file photo taken on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, shows the Kremlin in Moscow. The seemingly daily disclosures of connections between Russia and Donald Trump and his big business policymakers have cast a pall over the White House. On Sunday, came news that the U.S. commerce secretary is a part owner of Navigator Holdings, a company that ships liquefied gas produced by Sibur, a Russian giant with ties to the Kremlin. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)
FILE In this file photo taken on Friday, June 27, 2014, The headquarters of Russia’s state-run natural gas giant Gazprom is seen during the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Moscow, Russia. The state gas company Gazprom, in particular, has often been accused of manipulating price talks over natural gas to put pressure on governments of other European countries, particularly Ukraine. That’s prompted many European countries to seek gas supplies from elsewhere. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)
FILE In this file photo taken on Tuesday, July 29, 2014, the main VTB Bank building, center, rises between skyscrapers of the “Moscow City” in Moscow, Russia. The Russian state is a powerful factor in almost every part of the country’s economy. Some of the country’s biggest banks, such as Sberbank and VTB are state-controlled, with their management answering directly or indirectly to the Kremlin. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)
In this photo taken on Wednesday, July 29, 2015, Sibur stockholder Kirill Shamalov speaks to the media during an interview in Moscow, Russia. Sibur, the Russian chemicals and gas company that has worked with a shipping company in which Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is an investor. Shamalov has been identified as Putiin’s son in law. (Kommersant Publishing House via AP)
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