U.S. lifts sanctions on Rusal, other firms linked to Russia’s Deripaska

FILE PHOTO: Aluminium ingots are seen stored at the foundry shop of the Rusal Krasnoyarsk aluminium smelter in Krasnoyarsk
FILE PHOTO: Aluminium ingots are seen stored at the foundry shop of the Rusal Krasnoyarsk aluminium smelter in Krasnoyarsk, Russia October 3, 2018. Picture taken October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin/File Photo

January 27, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration on Sunday lifted sanctions on three firms, including aluminum giant Rusal, linked to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, despite a Democratic-led push in the U.S. Congress to continue the restrictions.

Earlier this month, Trump’s fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocked an effort to keep the sanctions on

US Rusal Plc, En+ Group Plc and JSC EuroSibEnergo.

Trump administration officials, and many Republicans who opposed the effort to keep the sanctions in place, said they worried about the impact on the global aluminum industry. They also said Deripaska, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had lowered his stakes in the companies so that he no longer controlled them, a sign the sanctions were working.

In its statement on Sunday, the U.S. Treasury Department said that the three companies had reduced Deripaska’s direct and indirect shareholding stake and severed his control.

Some lawmakers from both parties have said it is inappropriate to ease sanctions on companies tied to Deripaska while Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigates whether Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Moscow.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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