USA removes Russian aluminium firm from sanctions list | #94738

USA removes Russian aluminium firm from sanctions list | #94738

Rusal's shares rose as much as 6.7 percent in Hong Kong on Monday, gaining for an eighth straight day.

That pushed aluminum prices on the London Metal Exchange down 2 percent on Monday to near $1,880 a tonne.

Congressional Democrats have tried to block Treasury's action, citing concerns about the Trump administration's motives at a time when Special Counsel Robert Mueller is continuing his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible connections to the Trump campaign. China's aluminum exports jumped to a record high in 2018.

Advocates for keeping the sanctions had argued that Deripaska, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, retained too much control over the companies.

After the Treasury announcement, Rusal said its chairman, Jean-Pierre Thomas, had resigned as part of the deal to lift the USA sanctions.

"This action ensures that the majority of directors on the En+ and Rusal boards will be independent directors. who have no business, professional or family ties to Deripaska", the statement said.

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The Treasury Department said it has lifted sanctions it imposed a year ago on one of the world's largest aluminum companies, Rusal, and two other firms in which Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska owns large stakes. Rusal, a move that will provide relief to the global aluminum market.

It added that the companies had agreed to "unprecedented transparency for the Treasury into their operations" including extensive auditing, certification and reporting requirements. They were brought against the three companies in response to Russia's "malign activity around the globe", and Deripaska was targeted as an individual because the US claims he has threatened the lives of business rivals, bribed government officials, and has links to organized crime.

"The Company also announces that Mr. Philippe Bernard Henri Mailfait... has tendered his resignation as an independent non-executive Director", the statement read. Deripaska had ties with Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager.

Trump administration officials, who welcomed the delisting, said they feared the impact of the sanctions on the global aluminum industry. "Therefore, a situation arose in which Rusal managed, through a change in the form of ownership, to achieve the lifting of sanctions and a certain preservation of the status quo in the market", he noted. Manafort pleaded guilty in September 2018 to attempted witness tampering and conspiring against the United States.

The sanctions banned Americans and organizations with U.S. divisions, such as many global banks, from doing business with the companies and froze Deripaska's personal assets in United States jurisdictions.

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