Wilbur Ross Accused of Insider Trading

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Irish investigators commissioned by the European Union to investigate the European banking crisis have arrived at the conclusion that Trump's commerce secretary Wilbur Ross likely benefited from insider trading.

Ross made investments in the Bank of Ireland under extraordinarily favorable terms and then, before the bank's corrupt accounting practices were made public, Ross sold his shares at near peak value.

Investigators believe Ross knew the bank was cooking the books because he was allowed to see them when he invested and when he joined the board of directors.

From Mother Jones:

Ross’ involvement with the Bank of Ireland began in July 2011, when his hedge fund, WL Ross & Co., joined several institutional investors to purchase a 34.9 percent stake in the struggling financial firm for 1.12 billion euros ($1.6 billion). At the time, the deal “led to much head-scratching,” according to the Irish Examiner. That’s because Ross and the other investors obtained stock in the company at the low price of 10 euro cents a share just months after the bank received a 3.5 billion euro bailout from the Irish Central Bank and a guarantee of up to 10 billion more. (The bank’s shares were trading at about 30 euro cents two months before the sale.) [...]

In 2012, Ross joined the bank’s board of directors. Two years later, he began liquidating his stake. In March 2014, he sold a chunk of his holdings at 33 euro cents a share—more than triple what he had paid for the stock. A couple of months later, he sold the remainder of his shares for about 26 euro cents per share. Together, the sales netted him a profit of about 500 million euros ($682 million). The Irish Independent reported at the time that Ross had “pulled off the deal of the century.”

The following year, offloading his Bank of Ireland shares seemed especially wise. In May 2015, the bank’s lead auditor testified before the Irish parliament that the bank had been miscalculating its losses and presenting a rosier picture of its financial health.

Given what we know about Wilbur Ross, I'd say he's fortunate that special prosecutor Robert Mueller hasn't been given a reason to perform a rotorooter on his finances.

Accusations presented to the European Parliament are just his latest black eye following accusations made by his former business partners who are currently suing Ross for defrauding them. You may recall that Forbes also recently removed Ross from their list of billionaires because, as far as they can tell, his wealth is a facade.

In his current position, Ross has the power to shape international trade deals that, from what we know, have already benefited him personally. Ross orchestrated a trade deal that will allow American companies to export liquidized natural gas to China, but he never divested from a shipping company that transports liquefied natural gas.

Wilbur Ross should resign immediately, but he also should have resigned when his investments in the shipping company connected to Vladimir Putin's family was revealed. But I don't expect he will unless his personal finances are threatened. Money seems to be the only thing that matters to people without shame.

The Trump regime is a kleptocracy.

  • muselet

    For what seems like the thousandth time, is there anyone in this administration who’s not either openly corrupt or grabbing with both hands whatever’s not nailed down?


    • KanaW

      Nope. 😛

    • Christopher Foxx

      Clearly a rhetorical question.

  • Georgie

    Bwhahahahaha drain the swamp, and I’m the Queen of bloody England too.

    • KanaW

      Yeah, he drained the swamp, all right. Just so he could hire the really slimy dudes in the muck at the bottom!

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