US to lift sanctions against two Russian firms

Updated December 21, 2018

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Trump administration notifies Congress of plans to lift sanctions against two Russian firms despite opposition. — File photo
Trump administration notifies Congress of plans to lift sanctions against two Russian firms despite opposition. — File photo

NEW YORK: Despite opposition from most lawmakers — both Republicans and Democrats — the Trump administration has notified Congress of its plans to lift sanctions against two Russian firms.

According to the US Treasury Department, Rusal, the world’s second largest largest aluminium producer, and GAZ Group, an automotive conglomerate, had made “significant restructuring and corporate governance changes” to allow them to meet the criteria to be delisted within 30 days.

It explicitly said Oleg Deripaska, a Russian tycoon who has a stake in Rusal, would remain on the sanctions list and his property remain blocked as required under law.

“The (US) Treasury had sanctioned these companies because of their ownership and control by sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, not for the conduct of the companies themselves,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement.

“These companies have committed to significantly diminishing Deripaska’s ownership and sever his control.”

The changes that Rusal agreed to included reducing Deripaska’s direct as well as indirect stake in the companies and overhauling the board, among other fixes.

Published in Dawn, December 21st, 2018