>> There is no impropriety.>> President Donald Trump's Commerce Secretary, billionaire Wilbur Ross, is pushing back on Monday against claims he failed to disclose business ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin's inner circle.>> Papers have twisted the story.>> Ross forced to defend himself after the release of the so called Paradise Papers, a trove of documents leaked to a German newspaper detailing offshore investments by wealthy individuals.
The documents describing Ross' stake in the shipping firm Navigator Holdings, which the New York Times said earns millions of dollars a year transporting gas for Russian petro-chemical firm Sibur. The Times said Sibur stakeholders include Gennady Tkachenko, a Russian oligarch currently under US sanctions, as well as Putin's son in law, Kirill Shamalov.
Reporter David Lauter is on the story>> This is causing some concern about whether there is a conflict of interest for the commerce secretary, who has to make decision regarding Donald Trump's economic policies, trade policies.>> Ross told the BBC there was nothing improper about his investment in Navigator.
>> The company that is our client, Sibur itself, was not then sanctioned, is not now sanctioned. So there's nothing whatsoever improper.>> Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, is calling for an investigation into these matters, saying that Secretary Ross basically had deceived the committee in making his disclosure.
That he did not fully disclose this relationship. Whereas Secretary Ross says that he did everything by the book and was advised by the Office of Government Ethics that keeping these holdings was okay and fully compliant with the law.>> The revelation about Ross's holdings come as the investigation into the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia moves ahead.
Trump's indicted former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, appeared in court on Monday with his business partner Rick Gates, a judge ruling that neither can leave the country while awaiting trial.