All news

European envoys support US possible lifting of sanctions against En+ and Rusal

The extension of the restrictions will adversely affect the aluminum industry in Europe and may deprive 75,000 Europeans of their means of existence, the envoys argue in their letter

MOSCOW, January 12. /TASS/. European ambassadors to the United States back the US Treasury’s potential lifting of the sanctions against Rusal and En+, companies linked to Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska, says a letter to US senators obtained by TASS on Saturday.

The letter was signed by the ambassadors of Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Great Britain and also by the head of the European Union's representation in the United States.

As the letter says, the ambassadors welcome the recent actions by the US Treasury, which submitted a report to US Congress on the potential exclusion of En+ and Rusal from the sanctions list.

The extension of the US sanctions against En+ and Rusal will adversely affect the aluminum industry in Europe and may deprive 75,000 Europeans of their means of existence, the envoys say in their letter.

Since the sanctions were imposed on En+ and Rusal, the alumina and aluminum enterprises in Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and Great Britain have been confronted with price hikes and considerable difficulties in their day-to-day activities, the conclusion of new and the re-signing of existing contracts with old-time customers, the letter says.

The exclusion of En+ and Rusal from the sanctions list will allow keeping these enterprises operating and maintaining the source of existence for 75,000 people across the European Union (2,600 people at four alumina factories, 13,000 at aluminum smelters and 60,000 at associated production facilities), the letter says.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement on Thursday that the US administration is still set to remove Russian companies Rusal, En+ and Eurosibenergo (ESE) from its sanctions blacklist, because they have complied with US demands and are no longer controlled by Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska.

"En+, Rusal, and ESE were designated for sanctions solely because they were majority-owned or controlled by Deripaska. These entities are undergoing significant restructuring and governance changes that sever Deripaska’s control and significantly diminish his ownership," Mnuchin said.

"They have committed to provide Treasury with an unprecedented level of transparency into their dealings to ensure that Deripaska does not reassert control. As a result, these entities will no longer be designated for sanctions," the US official said.

Sanctions against Deripaska

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%.