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US House Majority Leader Introduces Bill to Avert Lifting Deripaska Sanctions

CC0 / / US Capitol
US Capitol - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US House of Representatives Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a statement on Tuesday that he has introduced a resolution to prevent the Department of Treasury from lifting sanctions imposed on companies controlled by Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska.

"Today, I am introducing a resolution to prevent the Treasury Department from lifting sanctions on businesses controlled by Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who has been sanctioned for his close relationship to President Putin and activities aimed at harming the interests of the United States," Hoyer said in a statement.

Hoyer acknowledged that the Treasury Department was able to negotiate reducing Deripaska's ownership in Rusal, but said serious questions about the settlement remain.

"[US Treasury] Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin’s briefing last week raised more questions than it answered, and, notwithstanding the good faith efforts of individual Treasury officials, I cannot help but view this action in the context of the Trump administration’s repeated deference to Russia," Hoyer said.

Hoyer emphasized the importance of Congress' ability to vet in full any settlement regarding Deripaska noting that he played a key role in alleged Russian malign activities against the United States.

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US Senate to Consider Blocking Rollback of Sanctions on Deripaska’s Companies

Commenting on the resolution, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stated that the US Senate would consider it later in the day.

"Later this afternoon, the Senate will move to consideration a motion to proceed to a resolution of disapproval on the Treasury Department’s proposal to relax sanction on three companies owned and controlled by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska," Schumer said on Tuesday morning.

Schumer noted that the Treasury Department’s proposal fails to sufficiently limit Deripaska’s stake in the three companies as it would merely reduce his ownership to 45 percent.

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Almost a month before that, the Treasury Department announced it intended to exclude from its sanctions list three companies controlled by Deripaska — En+, Rusal and Eurosibenergo — given that he had agreed to reduce his ownership of shares in them.

READ MORE: US Lawmakers Ask Treasury to Delay Plans to Lift Sanctions on Rusal, EN+

In April 2018, the United States introduced new sanctions against Russia and added Deripaska and the En+ Group, GAZ Group, Basic Element and Rusal to the Specially Designated Nationals List. The entities’ assets in the United States were blocked and US citizens have been prohibited from conducting any business with them.

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