Business briefing

The daily business briefing: November 6, 2017

Leak reveals commerce secretary's ties to Putin allies, Republicans discuss scrapping ObamaCare mandate with tax bill, and more

1

'Paradise Papers' reveal ties between commerce secretary and Putin allies

A trove of more than 13.4 million documents, the "Paradise Papers," has leaked from the Bermuda law firm Appleby, a year after the Panama Papers exposed how many wealthy individuals and corporations have hidden money in offshore tax havens. Appleby helps big corporations and super wealthy individuals hide ownership of assets from yachts to companies. The Paradise Papers, like the Panama Papers, were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and analyzed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Among the revelations: After joining the Trump administration, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross retained investments in Navigator Holdings, a shipping firm he once controlled that has ties to a relative of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a Russian oligarch facing U.S. sanctions.

2

Republicans discuss repealing ObamaCare insurance mandate with tax plan

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Sunday that Republicans are discussing a proposal to revise their tax plan to repeal ObamaCare's requirement for Americans to buy health insurance. President Trump has called for including the measure in the tax-cut bill. The Congressional Budget Office says eliminating the individual mandate would save $416 billion over a decade, and Republicans are looking for ways to reduce the cost of a tax plan that would add an estimated $1.5 trillion to the national debt over 10 years. Some Republicans, however, say that doing so could make it harder to pass the bill for a legislative victory the party sorely needs. The House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to start work on revisions to the tax bill on Monday.

3

Oil prices rise after Saudi crackdown

Oil prices surged to their highest level in more than two years on Sunday after Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered a flurry of arrests targeting ministers, investors, and princes in what the government called a crackdown on corruption. The arrests helped the crown prince consolidate his power. Among those detained without formal charges or any legal process were billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the kingdom's most prominent businessmen. Prince Alwaleed, a nephew of the king, owns the investment firm Kingdom Holding 4280.SE. Ten other princes, four ministers, and dozens of former ministers also were arrested, as was the head of the National Guard, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah.

4

CNBC: New York Fed President William Dudley to retire

New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley is expected to announce his retirement within days, CNBC reported over the weekend, citing several people with knowledge of his plans. Dudley has been in the post since 2009 and was an influential figure in the U.S. central bank's efforts to boost the economy after the financial crisis. His term doesn't end until January 2019, but he has told colleagues he will leave in 2018. His decision reportedly is not related to President Trump's decision to replace Fed Chair Janet Yellen with Fed Governor Jerome Powell when her term ends in February, contrary to the tradition of keeping Fed chairs on for a second term.

5

Diplomats gather for climate talks in Bonn

Diplomats from 195 countries, along with scientists, lobbyists, and environmentalists, start two weeks of climate talks in Bonn, Germany, on Monday, seeking to set targets for limiting emissions that scientists say are contributing to the warming of the planet. The 23rd annual conference comes following President Trump's announcement that the U.S., the world's No. 2 polluter and No. 1 economy, is pulling out of the Paris Agreement. Other countries, including China, are expected to push for strengthening the Paris deal by setting firm goals for limiting global warming. The U.S., facing criticism for the Trump administration's renewed commitment to coal, will be represented by Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon.

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