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US lifts sanctions on Rusal, other firms linked to Russia's Oleg Deripaska

Trump administration officials, and many Republicans who opposed the effort to keep the sanctions in place, had said they worried about the effect on the global aluminum industry

Reuters  |  Washington 

File photo of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin
File photo of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin

US Donald Trump's administration on Sunday lifted sanctions on aluminum giant and other Russian firms linked to oligarch Oleg Deripaska, defying a Democratic-led push in the US Congress to maintain the restrictions.

Earlier this month, 11 of Trump's fellow Republicans in the US Senate joined Democrats in a failed effort to keep the sanctions on Rusal, its parent, Plc, and power firm But that was not enough to overcome opposition from Trump and most of his fellow Republicans.

Advocates for keeping the sanctions had argued that Deripaska, an ally of Russian Vladimir Putin, retained too much control over the companies to lift sanctions imposed in April to punish for actions including its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea, efforts to interfere in US elections and support for Syria's government in its civil war.

Some lawmakers from both parties also said it was inappropriate to ease the sanctions while investigates whether Trump's 2016 presidential campaign colluded with

But in its statement on Sunday, the US Treasury Department said the three companies had reduced Deripaska's direct and indirect shareholding stake and severed his control.

That action, it said, ensured that most directors on the En+ and boards would be independent directors, including Americans and Europeans, who had no business, professional or family ties to Deripaska or any other person designated for sanctions by the Treasury Department.

shares jump

"The companies have also agreed to unprecedented transparency for Treasury into their operations by undertaking extensive, ongoing auditing, certification, and reporting requirements," the department's statement said.

Deripaska himself remains subject to US sanctions.

After the Treasury announcement, Rusal said had resigned as as part of the deal to lift the US sanctions. Shares in Hong Kong-listed Rusal jumped more than 5 per cent in early trading on Monday.

EN+ also announced a securities swap with London's

officials, and many Republicans who opposed the effort to keep the sanctions in place, had said they worried about the effect on the global aluminum industry. They also said Deripaska's decision to lower his stakes in the companies so that he no longer controlled them showed that the sanctions had worked.

Rusal is the world's largest outside The sanctions on the company spurred demand for Chinese China's aluminum exports jumped to a record high in 2018.

Trump denies collusion, and has denied seeking to influence the US election on Trump's behalf, despite US intelligence agencies' finding that it did so.

Deripaska had ties with Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign Manafort pleaded guilty in September 2018 to attempted witness tampering and conspiring against the

First Published: Mon, January 28 2019. 08:46 IST