Penny Pritzker, who served as US commerce secretary during President Barack Obama’s second term, was named in the Paradise Papers over a potential conflict of interest relating to shares she owned in companies including container lessor Triton Container International.
Rather than selling the shares, as was expected at the time, they were transferred to an investment firm “owned by trusts that are for the benefit of Penny Pritzker’s children”, revealed leaked financial documents from June 2013.
Pritzker’s ethics forms value her shares in Triton at US$1m and US$5m at the time of the transfer.
Federal law limits cabinet members’ ability to “personally and substantially” participate in government matters that could affect their financial interests.
Pritzker had pledged to sell investments in Triton as well as IAS Holdings in a federal ethics filing and a form filed in 2014 listed the shares simply as sold.
In 2011, private equity firms Warburg Pincus and Vestar took a controlling stake in Triton from the Pritzker family, which is one of the wealthiest in the US.
The deal was thought to have valued the company at about $3.5 billion, including debt.