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US Commerce Chief Confirmed

US Commerce Chief ConfirmedUS Commerce Chief Confirmed

Wilbur Ross sailed through Senate confirmation to become the new commerce secretary, despite tough questions about his possible ties with Russian oligarchs through his position on the board of the Bank of Cyprus. Several Democrats gave their support, for a total of 72 of 100 senators casting their votes for the 79-year-old billionaire who specializes in troubled businesses and is now tasked with implementing Trump’s promises to return industrial jobs to the United States, AFP reported.

Ross, who succeeds another billionaire, Penny Pritzker, will now also coordinate US commerce policies with the US trade representative, a post for which Trump has nominated Robert Lighthizer, who awaits Senate confirmation.

Democrats’ questions of Ross’s ties with Russia come at a time when Trump is defending his administration’s relations with Moscow, following leaks about repeated contacts between members of his campaign team last year and Russian intelligence officials.

Since 2014, Ross has served as vice chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Cyprus, the largest bank in Cyprus, which was saved from bankruptcy in 2013 by a bailout from the Eurozone countries and the IMF and by forced contributions from most of its savers.

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