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U.S. postpones sanctions deadline on Russian tycoon's firms

Reuters  |  WASHINGTON 

(Reuters) - The on Friday said it was postponing the enforcement of sanctions on Russian companies EN+ , <0486.HK> and for nearly four weeks as their top shareholder works on a plan to cut his stakes.

The Department had given Russian tycoon until Dec. 12 to reduce his holdings in the three companies but said in a statement that the deadline had been moved to Jan. 7, 2019.

"EN+, RUSAL, and GAZ are proposing substantial corporate governance changes that could potentially result in significant changes in control of these sanctioned entities," Treasury said in a statement explaining why the deadline was postponed.

Rusal, En+ and GAZ declined to comment.

The imposed the sanctions in April on Deripaska and several companies in which he is a large shareholder, citing "malign activities" by Russia, as well as allegations of past crimes by Deripaska himself.

The sanctions, the toughest since Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea, have been postponed several times as the U.S. considers plans by Deripaska to divest shares in the companies so that he no longer controls them, among other moves.

and its parent have recruited directors and management not linked to Deripaska in recent months as part of talks with over easing U.S. sanctions.

named Evgenii Nikitin, who has been since May and previously headed its aluminium division, as its last Friday. En+ also appointed a new

Friday's move extends licenses relating to the sanctioned firms to authorise activities needed to wind down operations or contracts, according to a statement on the Department's website. It also extends licenses to authorise transactions needed to divest debt, equity and other holdings.

Concerns over the impact of sanctions on Rusal have roiled aluminium markets. Rusal is the world's second-biggest after China's Hongqiao <1378.HK>. Japan's top aluminium rolling company, <5741.T>, said on Nov. 1 that it was removing Rusal from its 2019 suppliers list due to uncertainty over the sanctions.

(Reporting by and in Washington, Nathan Layne in New York and Polina Devitt in Moscow; Editing by Susan Thomas)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, November 10 2018. 02:03 IST