State Treasurer Shawn Wooden recently announced that he would begin to divest $220 million the state has invested in Russian-owned assets. I fear that this will be a case of “too little, too late” and the Connecticut taxpayers will suffer significantly.
The Wall Street Journal had an article about pension funds trying to sell off Russian investments and the difficulties of doing so now. The article states that Maryland’s Pension system’s Russian holdings had a “market value of $96 million as of Thursday, down from $197 million a week before.” That’s a 51% drop in value in one week, and I’m sure that Connecticujt’s holdings are probably even lower than that now.
Besides the issue of trying to sell assets that are sinking and unwanted by others, there is now the issue of currency transfers between Russian Banks and the rest of the world banking system. Assuming a buyer could be found for Connecticut’s holdings (at substantially less than our purchase price), how would the state be paid if international bank transactions are blocked?
The larger question for taxpayers is, why is Connecticut investing taxpayer funds in countries that are our adversaries in the first place? If Connecticut has invested in Russia, are we also invested in China, with their interest in taking over Taiwan?
The citizens and taxpayers of Connecticut need to know the answer(s) to the above and I urge the media to follow up on the current declining value of our Russian holdings and those we may have in China. And if it takes an invasion into an autonomous country to motivate Mr. Wooden to think about pulling assets out of the aggressor country, he should be replaced.
Craig Hoffman lives in Cheshire.