In this widely shared post @yonatanzunger claims, among other things that:

On Wednesday, Reuters reported (in great detail) how 19.5% of Rosneft, Russia’s state oil company, has been sold to parties unknown. This was done through a dizzying array of shell companies, so that the most that can be said with certainty now is that the money “paying” for it was originally loaned out to the shell layers by VTB (the government’s official bank), even though it’s highly unclear who, if anyone, would be paying that loan back; and the recipients have been traced as far as some Cayman Islands shell companies.

Why is this interesting? Because the much-maligned Steele Dossier (the one with the golden showers in it) included the statement that Putin had offered Trump 19% of Rosneft if he became president and removed sanctions. The reason this is so interesting is that the dossier said this in July, and the sale didn’t happen until early December. And 19.5% sounds an awful lot like “19% plus a brokerage commission.”

There are a lot of claims in there and most are unverifiable, observing straight away that no actual connection between the two parts is supported by evidence, but there are 3 key points that I would like to know about.

  1. Was 19.5% of Rosneft sold to unknown parties?
  2. Was it paid with a VTB loan?
  3. Was a 19% of Rosneft payoff "price" for lifting sanctions predicted in the Steele Dossier?

Can you find the evidence behind these claims? Or is it a conspiracy theory?

  • 3
    The Russian Government has publicly been trying to sell 19% of Rosneft for many months as a privatization to support its budget. This hit problems when it seemed that Rosneft was trying to buy the stake itself, causing issues inside the Kremlin's inner circle as it would not bring in money from outside. Possibly one of many suggestions considered was involving Trump (how could anybody find out whether this was true?) but it would not be a natural business choice even without considering politics. – Henry Feb 1 '17 at 12:17
  • The 19.5% sale was reported in early December as involving Glencore, the Qatar Investment Authority, the Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo and the Russian Bank VTB. But financial journalists (Reteurs, Financial Times, Bloomberg etc.) failed to get consistent stories from the different parties involved and seem to be thinking most of the money ultimately comes from Russian state enterprises, possibly with individuals taking a slice on the way. – Henry Feb 1 '17 at 12:19
  • @Henry - "possibly"? That's basically how the system works. blogs.ucl.ac.uk/ssees/2013/03/11/… – user5341 Feb 1 '17 at 13:00

Reuters does report that 19.5% of Rosneft was sold to unknown parties. A VTB loan was involved. Whether or not it has any connection to the Steele Dossier is complete conjecture.

However, the deal is much less secretive than it appears. Reuters also reported back in November and December (eg here and here) that Russia was planning a 19.5% sale in the near future.

While there may be some uncertainty of the details of the final deal, it would seem that a direct payoff is unlikely.

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    Of course, it's total conjecture. I'd like to know if the Reuters report is confirmed by other agencies or better, official sources and about point 3 :-) – Sklivvz Jan 31 '17 at 20:01

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