US lifts sanctions on Russian Oligarch's companies

US lifts sanctions on Russian Oligarch's companies

Russian aluminium tycoon Oleg Deripaska leaves after the talks of Russian President Vladimir Putin with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Kremlin in Moscow. Reuters file photo.

The US Treasury Department lifted sanctions Sunday on Russian aluminum giant Rusal and two related companies after blacklisted billionaire Oleg Deripaska took action to sharply cut his stake in them.

The tycoon is known to have friendly relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and had business ties with US President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was convicted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Deripaska is one of several oligarchs sanctioned last year in retaliation for what the US called "the Russian government's ongoing and increasingly brazen pattern of malign activity across the world", citing its interference in Syria and its seizure of Crimea.

Rusal, EN+ Group Plc and EuroSibEnergo JSC have "reduced Oleg Deripaska's direct and indirect shareholding stake... and severed his control", the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said in a statement.

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

The delisting -- first announced in December -- came as the companies sought to avoid being locked out of global markets due to their close association with Deripaska.

The sanctions banned Americans and organisations with US divisions, such as many global banks, from doing business with the companies and froze Deripaska's personal assets in US jurisdictions.

"All sanctions on Deripaska continue in force," the OFAC said.

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