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WSJ: US Democrats crusade to block removal of Rusal sanctions bound to fail

January 10, 14:43 UTC+3 MOSCOW

In 2018, American authorities slapped sanctions on several Russian officials, businessmen and companies

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© Alexandr Sherbak/TASS

MOSCOW, January 10. /TASS/. Efforts by US Democrats to block the US Treasury initiative on lifting sanctions from Russian companies Rusal, En+ and EuroSibEnergo are likely to fail, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Earlier, two top Democratic lawmakers, Senator Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, filed resolutions to block the US Treasury’s decision to remove Rusal, En+ and EuroSibEnergo, companies linked to businessman Oleg Deripaska from the sanctions blacklist.

According to the Wall Street Journal, under the new laws passed in the wake of the alleged 2016 election interference, "Congress can reject Treasury’s plan concerning the companies by passing a resolution of disapproval within 30 days of the plan’s submission."

However, right now there are "few Republicans" in Congress, who have "voiced support for the initiative launched by Democratic lawmakers." The newspaper noted though, "Democrats likely have enough votes in the House with a resumption of a majority in that chamber. But if Senate Republicans decide not to back the resolution, Rusal and the other companies are set to be taken off the blacklist after January 18."

On April 6, 2018, American authorities slapped sanctions on several Russian officials, businessmen and companies. Among them was Oleg Deripaska and companies linked to him, such as Rusal, En+, EuroSibEnergo, GAZ Group, and others. The sanctions stipulate freezing assets on US soil, and banning US citizens from engaging in any business activities with those companies.

The US Treasury initially gave American investors until May 7, 2018, to sell shares and bonds of those companies, and until June 5 to wind down operations or existing contracts with those enterprises. Nonetheless, the deadline was extended several times since then.

On December 20, 2018, it became known that the US Treasury was ready to remove sanctions against En+, Rusal, and EuroSibEnergo within 30 days since Deripaska had agreed to reduce his control in En+ from roughly 70% to 44.95%.

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