A former top Qorvis executive handles corporate affairs duties for Switzerland's Gunvor Group commodities trading outfit that allegedly has financial ties with Russian strongman Vladamir Putin.

The New York Times yesterday reported as its lede story that Putin at one time may have had assets of about $40B invested in Gunvor.

The U.S. Treasury Dept. has imposed sanctions of Gennady Timchenko, part-owner on Gunvor, in its initial round of financial strictures slapped on Russian oligarchs who are part of Putin's inner circle.

Seth Pietras, who was left his executive VP slot at Qorvis Geopolitical Solutions last year for Gunvor's corporate affairs post, denied to the NYT that Putin has any direct or indirect interest in the $90B Swiss entity.

He noted that Gunvor's brass met with State Dept. and Congressional aides to provide evidence refuting Treasury's allegations.

Treasury officials, however, maintain confidence that its info linking Putin with Gunvor is accurate.

At Qorvis, which is now how part of Publicis Groupe's MSLGroup, Pietras worked for Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Mexico, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and the restive Kurdish region of Iraq.