US lifts sanctions on three major Russian firms
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US lifts sanctions on three major Russian firms

Earlier this month, the Senate voted to move ahead with a Democratic-backed resolution blocking Trump’s plan to lift the sanctions on Rusal, its parent, En+ Group Plc, and power firm JSC EuroSibEnergo. In a 57-42 vote on Jan. 15, the Senate advanced legislation that would disapprove of a Washington’s plan to ease sanctions on the three companies which are claimed to have ties with Oleg Deripaska, an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Some lawmakers from both parties said it was inappropriate to ease the sanctions while special counsel Robert Mueller investigates the alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Moscow. However, the US Treasury issued a statement on Sunday, saying the three companies had reduced Deripaska’s direct and indirect shareholding stake and severed his alleged control. That action, it said, meant that most directors on the En+ and Rusal boards would be able to act independently. The directors include Americans and Europeans, who had no business, professional or family ties to Deripaska or any other person designated for sanctions by the department. “The companies have also agreed to unprecedented transparency for Treasury into their operations by undertaking extensive, ongoing auditing, certification, and reporting requirements,” the department said. Deripaska himself will remain subject to US sanctions. Following the announcement, Rusal said chairman Jean-Pierre Thomas had resigned as part of the deal to lift the US sanctions. In April, the US imposed fresh sanctions on a number of Russian individuals and companies over a range of activities, including Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. Russia has time and again denied the allegations of interfering in other countries’ democratic processes, dismissing them as part of a “Russophobia” campaign run by the West.

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