The aluminum empire of the Russian magnate Oleg Deripaska is in close contact with the U.S. Treasury, but needs until mid-summer to come up with a plan to meet U.S. requirements to escape sanctions, Reuters reported on May 31 citing En+ chairman Greg Barker.
The U.S. Treasury in April imposed sanctions against billionaire Deripaska and the eight companies in which he was a large shareholder, including giant aluminum exporter UC Rusal, in response to what it called “malign activities” by Russia.
Following pressure to soften its stance from business groups, Washington suggested it might lift the sanctions against RUSAL and parent En+ if Deripaska cut his En+ stake to below 50% and introduced independent board members.
Under the current sanctions, U.S. businesses need to wind down aluminum trading with Rusal by October, while trading in Rusal’s and En+’s shares and debt should be discontinued by June 5.
Barker told Reuters he had asked the U.S. Treasury to extend the license to carry on trading the shares until September while he worked on fleshing out a plan to get En+ and Rusal off the sanctions list.
“We are seeking an extension of the general license to allow us the time to put together the remaining building blocks in order to present a finalized proposal to the U.S. government by mid-summer,” Barker said.
Deripaska controls 66% of En+, which in turn controls 48% of Rusal. Discussions over reducing Deripaska’s stake could be complicated by the fact his ex-wife Polina also controls 5.8% of En+.
Barker, who met Irish business minister Heather Humphreys on May 31, is seeking the support of Ireland to persuade the Treasury to back the plan.
“The Irish government has been very engaged with Rusal to find ways in which they can mitigate the impact of sanctions. I will be going to Dublin with a very clear message,” he told Reuters on May 29.
Rusal is the parent company of Aughinish Alumina in County Limerick, Ireland, which employs around 450 workers. The Askeaton company refines imported bauxite into alumina, which is a major ingredient in the manufacturing of aluminum. (Prime/Ukrainian metal)