The mysterious sale of $11 billion worth of shares in Russia’s state-run oil company Rosneft could have some connection to a personal friend of Donald Trump, though the evidence now appears murky, according to an investigative report published Sunday on The Huffington Post. The shares had allegedly been offered last year as a possible bribe to Trump in exchange for lifting economic sanctions on Russia, according to allegations in a controversial dossier prepared by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele.
UPDATE AND CLARIFICATION 2/14/17: The original version of this article, based on the above-referenced Huffington Post report, used the term “linked” to describe the possible relationship between Trump friend Steve Schwarzman’s businesses and the Rosneft sale. However, the author of that Huffington Post article now says that his story has been retracted temporarily until or if a more solid link can be established. This Inquisitr article has since been modified to reflect the uncertain nature of any connection to Schwarzman, but reporting presented below also relies on other, independent sources.
To read earlier Inquisitr coverage of the Trump-Rosneft allegations, click on the link in the “previous coverage” box below.
According to allegations in the Steele Dossier, former Trump adviser Carter Page allegedly acted as the go-between between Trump and the Vladimir Putin run oil company, meeting with Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, who proposed arranging a transfer of the shares to Trump in exchange for removing the United States economic sanctions, which were put in place under former President Barack Obama as retaliation for Putin and Russia’s annexation of Crimea and proxy war against Ukraine.
In an interview with ABC News, Page denied earlier this month that the alleged meeting with Sechin took place, and that he took part in negotiating any quid pro quo between Russia and Trump.
But political writer Alex Mohajer in his now-retracted Sunday Huffington Post piece presented evidence that at least part of that $11 billion sale — 19.5 percent of the massive oil company — was connected to a Cayman Islands company at least potentially related in some way to businesses run by Steve Schwarzman, the billionaire CEO of Blackstone Group, a major Wall Street financial management firm. (See above update.)
Schwarzman (pictured with Trump at the top of this page), a close friend and adviser of Trump, has a reported net worth of $11.4 billion. Trump had been reportedly planning to attend the lavish 70th birthday party thrown by Schwarzman for himself on Saturday, February 11, in Palm Beach, Florida. While Trump apparently did not attend — though he was at his Palm Beach Mar-A-Lago estate on Saturday meeting with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe — his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Trump White House adviser Jared Kushner, did show up at the party where pop singer Gwen Stefani gave a private performance.
Trump did reportedly attend Schwarzman’s 69th birthday party last year.
Schwarzman’s Blackstone firm owns a Dutch company known as Intertrust, which Blackstone acquired in 2012 according to the Financial Times newspaper — a Cayman Islands firm known as Walkers Management Services.
A recently registered a limited partnership is listed at the same Cayman Islands address as the Walkers offices there. The partnership is known as QHG Cayman Limited.
According to a report in January by CNBC, a Walkers managing partner refused to confirm or deny that QHG Cayman, or any company, was connected to Walkers.
Why is QHG Cayman Limited potentially important? Because the shares representing 19.5 percent of Rosneft, when they were sold in December, were transferred to Singapore firm QHG Shares, a partner with QHG Cayman, according to the Cayman Compass newspaper. The Cayman-based QHG was part of the deal that provided financing for the massive sale of Rosneft shares.
MORE DONALD TRUMP COVERAGE FROM THE INQUISITR:
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However, the complete ownership structure of the Cayman-based firm remains shrouded in mystery, as does the entire Rosneft deal in which Putin and Russia were able to unload the $11 billion in oil shares without revealing their true buyers.
[Featured Image By Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]