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2018-08-07 — thinkprogress.org

An investigation by Forbes' Dan Alexander found that Ross stole and siphoned millions of dollars in assets from his business associates. Alexander's conclusion: "all told, these allegations -- which sparked lawsuits, reimbursements and an SEC fine -- come to more than $120 million."

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He has admitted to shorting stocks months after attaining office. Ross has owned stakes in Chinese government-owned companies, a shipping company called Navigator with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and banks that are under federal government investigation. The New York Times reported last month: "Three business days after Mr. Ross was contacted by The New York Times for a forthcoming article about those ties, he took out a short position valued at between $100,000 and $250,000 on Navigator's stock -- essentially a bet that the stock's value would decrease -- putting him in a position to potentially profit from negative news about the company." These are not just ethical red flags, but potentially huge conflicts of interest.

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Ross, who Forbes had listed in previous years as being worth $2.9 billion, actually revealed a comparatively smaller net worth of $700 million last year when he had to cough up paperwork required to work for the federal government. Ross initially said that he had transferred $2 billion to a family account before submitting the filings, but Alexander concluded in a November 2017 report something which may not be entirely shocking: "That money never existed."

Lying about one's own material wealth is not a unique sin, but doing it on such an outrageous and public scale can mean business opportunities and more valuable branding for people like Ross, and his boss, Donald Trump.

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