Massive secretive Rosneft oil deal = Trump-Russia collusion?

The story of Trump, Carter Page, the Steele dossier, and the mysterious sale of a 19.5% stake in Russia’s giant oil company Rosneft–to unidentified buyers.

Molly McKew (@MollyMckew) tweeted an excellent summary possible Trump connections to Ronseft, Russia’s state oil company.

And why isn’t this a story?

In July 2016, according to the Christopher Steele dossier, Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, offered Carter Page and his associates the brokerage of a 19% stake in the giant oil company in exchange for the lifting of US sanctions on Russia.

In December 2016, a 19.5% stake in Rosneft was sold to an opaque structure of shell entities. The true ultimate identities of the buyers is yet to be determined.

In January 2017, Trump tells Wall Street Journal that the sanctions on Russia can be lifted if Russia and the U.S. “get along.” 🤔

Reuters reports that public records show the ownership structure of the 19.5% stake ultimately includes a Cayman Islands company whose beneficial owners cannot be traced. As stated in the Reuters article, “The use of an offshore company is by itself no indication of wrongdoing, but it can make it impossible to determine the true owner of an asset from public records.”

The purchasor of the 19.5% Rosneft stake was a structure of shell companies owning shell companies. Reuters reports that this type of opaque structure is so common in Russia that it has a name: “Matryoshka.” “Matryoshka” are the Russian wooden nesting dolls that open to reveal a smaller doll inside.

Even the Russians are asking questions:

“The main question in relation to this transaction, as ever, still sounds like this: Who is the real buyer of a 19.5 percent stake in Rosneft?” –Sergey Aleksashenko, a former deputy head of Russia’s central bank

In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump suggested the sanctions could be lifted if Moscow proved to be a useful ally. “If you get along and if Russia is really helping us,” Trump asked, “why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?”
–Business Insider, January 27, 2017