Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s energy policy adviser has close ties with Russian businesses, including the Kremlin-controlled gas company Gazprom.
Trump announced last week he tapped Carter Page, a business consultant who works with former Soviet bloc countries and businesses, as his top energy policy adviser. Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that Page “developed relationships with executives at Gazprom, the former Soviet gas ministry that was partially privatized in the 1990s,” while working in Russia for the bank Merrill Lynch.
“By the time Page arrived, Putin was consolidating his grip on the country’s economy, and in 2005 the government boosted its stake so that it again owned a majority of the stock,” Bloomberg reported.
Pope told the paper he “advised Gazprom on its largest deals during this period, such as buying of a stake in the Sakhalin oil and gas field in the Sea of Okhotsk” and “helped the company court Western investors, assisting in setting up the first regular meetings with shareholders in New York and London.”
Page is also an investor in Gazprom — which has been hit hard by sanctions and low oil prices. Bloomberg reports “he still attends the annual investor meetings—and blames the trade restrictions for helping drive down the stock.”
Page currently runs his own consulting business called Global Energy Capital LLC, which still does business in the former Soviet Union. Bloomberg reports Page “traveled to Turkmenistan that year, talking about raising a $1 billion private-equity fund to buy assets in the former Soviet republic, and meeting with top government officials.”
The Turkmenistan fund fell apart because of the global financial crisis, and since then Page said he spent time “counseling” investors on buying Russian assets. He even worked with Sergey Yatsenko, Gazprom’s CFO who’s now an adviser to Page’s firm, to help a Russian investor buy oil assets in Kurdistan. He also helped a Chinese investor buy Siberian oil assets.
“Another project involved developing natural-gas-powered vehicles in Russia, possibly in partnership with Gazprom, Yatsenko says,” according to Bloomberg. “But the sanctions put those talks on hold.”
Page even admitted U.S. and European sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Crimea hurt his consulting business as well as his personal investments.
“So many people who I know and have worked with have been so adversely affected by the sanctions policy,” Page told Bloomberg. “There’s a lot of excitement in terms of the possibilities for creating a better situation.”
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