Wilbur Ross, Trump’s Commerce Secretary, has developed a reputation over the years for buying up failing businesses and has been dubbed the “King of Bankruptcy.” As a multi-billionaire, you would expect Ross to have far-reaching global business ties. But what does this mean for our Department of Commerce now that he is in charge and who stands to benefit the most from the policies on foreign trade that the department will set forth under his leadership?
Looking into Ross’ previous business connections with the nefarious Blackstone Group and the alleged state front for the Chinese government, Anbang Insurance Group, it seems the biggest beneficiaries of Wilbur Ross’ appointment are those in Trump’s inner circle and the Chinese.
Keep in mind that the infamous dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele claimed that the Trump campaign was very pleased with all the attention Russia was getting since it took attention off of China.
So let’s follow the money, shall we?
Wilbur Ross and the Blackstone Group
Blackstone Group LLC certainly has their hands in cookie jars the world over. But their dealings with Wilbur Ross surrounding floundering bank acquisitions on a global scale are now having a major impact on policy set forth by the Trump administration.
Wilbur Ross and Blackstone were the largest shareholders of Bank United in 2009 following the bank’s collapse during the global financial crisis. This wasn’t the only bank the two made out like bandits on. They also purchased large holdings in The Bank of Ireland, Northern Rock, a bank in England, and Ross himself sat on the board for the Bank of Cyprus as Vice President. The Bank of Cyprus of course making massive headlines with its involvement in Paul Manafort’s alleged Russian money laundering operations.
In December 2016 then President-elect Trump met with Bank United CEO John Kanas. Many speculated that this meeting with Kanas was over a possible cabinet position. The Wall Street Journal, however, reported that Kanas said no specific jobs were discussed. Was this a meeting for an appointment to Trump’s cabinet or was it a meeting to discuss banking deregulation and the gutting of Dodd-Frank?
In February 2017 Trump began crafting legislation that would roll back consumer protections, namely the fiduciary rule, that were much hated by the banksters on Wall Street.
According to Steven Goldberg of Kiplinger:
“The rule would prohibit brokers from providing advice that lines their pockets instead of looking out for clients’ interests. Under the rule, for example, it would be difficult for a broker to justify selling a client a high-fee mutual fund when an identical or similar fund is available at a much lower price. Particularly alarming to financial services firms is that the rule would permit class action lawsuits against firms that violate its provisions.”
Funny, wasn’t he supposed to be crafting a plan to crush ISIS in his first 30 days instead of lining the pockets of big banking? The rollback on these regulations will very likely lead to another financial crisis and the swindling of billions from the public. Just in time too now that we have recovered and the sheep are ready for another massive fleecing.
Wilbur Ross, Blackstone, and billions of potential dollars flowing in from China
Wilbur Ross still owns a trans-oceanic global shipping company called Diamond S Shipping according to the Pulitzer-winning Center For Public Integrity.
Not only does Ross own this shipping firm, he does an incredible amount of business with the state-owned Chinese Investment Corporation (CIC). In fact, Wilbur Ross sealed a deal with the CIC and several other investors raising over 2 billion dollars to outfit Diamond S Shipping with 30 brand spanking new tankers in 2011. And of course, these shipping vessels were made in China by Cido Shipping.
According to the PR Newswire:
“With a powerful balance sheet and one of the youngest large fleets in the industry, Diamond S is uniquely positioned to be one of the world’s leading crude and product ocean transportation companies, said Craig H. Stevenson, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of Diamond S. “We intend to take full advantage of increasing demand by major energy companies for environmentally secure, fuel-efficient vessels in the global fuel business,” Stevenson added
And as Secretary of Commerce, Ross is uniquely positioned to make a fortune as he shapes and implements foreign trade policy in the United States. Billions even.
But who else could make a fortune off business with China?
We already know from early reporting by American News X that Blackstone has made billions of dollars conducting business with China.
According to that report:
In early 2016 the Chinese insurance group [Anbang] brokered a deal with Blackstone Group LLC to purchase Strategic Hotels and Resorts for 6.5 billion dollars. Blackstone also owns Equity Office Properties, Hilton Hotels Corporation, Trizec Properties, Center Parcs UK, La Quinta Inns & Suites, Motel 6, Wyndham Worldwide, Southern Cross Healthcare and Vicinity Centres.
Blackstone has apparently recently sold its holdings in SeaWorld making almost half a billion dollars off the sale. Who might you ask wants to own that much of a glorified aquarium? Would you be shocked if we said it was a Chinese company?
According to a report by Fortune:
Zhonghong Group, a Chinese leisure, real estate, and travel company, is expected to pay $448.5 million for the 21% stake in SeaWorld based on the SEC filings.
Who else was about to make a fortune from China?
How about Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner who was about to sell the most expensive building in U.S history to Anbang Insurance Group for the sum of $4 billion U.S dollars.
That deal apparently fell through under pressure from ethics watchdog groups. Kushner may be down but certainly not out.
In a statement given to The New York Times:
“Kushner Companies remains in active, advanced negotiations around 666 5th Avenue with a number of potential investors.”
That may leave many wondering who those potential investors are and whether or not they turn around and sell the building to Anbang anyway. Nothing like cutting in an American 3rd party to help smooth over $4 billion dollar questions of ethics. It might be a good idea to wait and see what kind of real estate Blackstone decides to buy on 5th Avenue in New York.