Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ partner on a massive Russian natural gas business venture is married to Vladimir Putin’s daughter. That we knew. But Reuters is reporting late Tuesday that the previously unknown mystery daughter has finally been outed and identified.
The infamous Paradise Papers exposed weeks ago how Ross has made millions from his investment stake in Navigator Holdings, a shipping company specializing in transporting liquified natural gas around the world.
Navigator’s biggest client is the Russian petrochemicals giant Sibur, a company part-owned by Kirill Shamanov, a Russian billionaire and the son of one of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle of oligarchs. He’s also married to Putin’s youngest daughter.
The New York Times reported in early November that, despite divesting in most of his international business holdings prior to joining the Trump Administration, Ross kept his stake in Navigator through a network of holding companies in the Cayman Islands. More troubling, Navigator “increased its business dealings with Sibur even as the West sought to punish Russia’s energy sector over Mr. Putin’s incursions into Ukraine,” according to the Times.
Now Reuters has placed the final piece into the puzzle with confirmation that Katerina Tikhonova, a competitive dancer who also runs multiple Putin-funded foundations and initiatives, is, in fact, Vladimir Putin’s child. According to Reuters:
“A colleague of Katerina Tikhonova from the world of acrobatic rock‘n‘roll confirmed that she is the younger daughter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and then later withdrew his comments, saying he had misheard the question.”
Vladimir Putin has long kept the identity of his children and other family members hidden, or at least shrouded in mystery. Now that Tikhonova has been outed as Putin’s daughter, and her marriage to a Putin-controlled oligarch confirmed, there is an undeniable straight line from a member of the Trump administration to the Russian dictator’s inner sanctum.
Now that the Paradise Papers’ revelations about Wilbur Ross have been substantiated, other Trump associates implicated in them should be very, very afraid. Gary D. Cohn, Trump’s chief economic adviser, and Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, have all been linked to shady business deals in the Paradise Papers. And if they’re not exposed in the media, not to worry. We’re pretty sure special counsel Robert Mueller will take a look as well.