One-time Trump adviser Page sees opportunities in Russia

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks with the media after meeting with families of the victims of the November 28 attacks at Ohio State University in The Jerome Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio, U.S., December 8, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Carter Page, a businessman previously described as a foreign-policy adviser to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, said on Friday he saw significant business opportunities in Russia.

Page arrived in Moscow on Thursday and told Russia’s RIA news agency he was visiting Russia to work on economic projects. The current nature of his relationship with Trump’s team is unclear.

“I firmly believe that the opportunities for cooperation with the private sector of the Russian economy have never been as great as they will be in coming years,” Page was quoted as saying.

“Despite the West’s antagonistic policy and the unavoidable reaction of Moscow, which limited these opportunities in the past few decades, the possibilities today are unique.”

Page has previously worked in Russia, spending three years in Moscow at U.S. investment bank Merrill Lynch, but his credentials came under scrutiny after being named as one of the people briefing then presidential candidate Trump.

He told RIA an $11.3 billion deal for Qatar and Swiss trader Glencore GLEN.L to buy a state stake in Russian oil major Rosneft ROSN.MM, announced earlier this week, showed sanctions on Russia hurt Western firms.

“The hostile efforts to punish Rosneft and a group of its senior executives with the help of Western sanctions have mainly hurt Western firms and not achieved their goal,” he said.

Reporting by Jack Stubbs and Denis Pinchuk; Editing by Alexander Winning