02:19 GMT03 April 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States has extended the deadline for companies to wind down their business with sanctioned Russian entities RUSAL, EN+, and GAZ another two weeks until January 21, 2019, the Treasury Department said in a press release on Friday.

    "[OFAC] today extended further the expiration date of certain general licenses related to EN+ Group plc (EN+), United Company RUSAL PLC (RUSAL), and GAZ Group (GAZ)," the release said. "These General Licenses 13H, 14D, 15C, and 16D amend their previous versions by extending the expiration date from January 7, 2019, to January 21, 2019, for transactions related to the companies and their subsidiaries," Treasury Department said.

    The top Democrat on the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee urged the Trump administration to drop reported plans to lift sanctions on Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska, a letter published on Wednesday showed.

    "I see no reason to remove sanctions against Mr. Deripaska, and until he divests from and relinquishes control of RUSAL and EN+, there is no justification to remove the sanctions on those companies," Menendez wrote in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Media reports have said that the Treasury Department did not follow proper procedures when it imposed the sanctions on Deripaska in April.

    Congressional sources told The Daily Beast that the Treasury Department failed to fully evaluate the global impact of the sanctions, which have driven up world aluminum prices and created turmoil in international markets. Leaders in Europe have urged the United States to lift the sanctions.

    READ MORE: Rusal Mulls Moving Its Legal Residence to Russia

    Mnuchin has as a result suggested that sanctions on the companies could be lifted to ease the adverse economic impact. The Treasury recently extended the deadline for Deripaska to reduce his holdings in Rusal and En+ until January 7. But in his letter to Mnuchin, Menendez said the Treasury Department must take all possible steps to ensure that Deripaska in no way benefits from or retains any form of control over Rusal and En+ before lifting the sanctions.

    The senator also urged the Treasury Department to make clear to the two companies that sanctions would snap back into effect if Deripaska or his family or associates increase their holdings in either entity beyond what is agreed to in negotiations. Menendez also called for blocking any proceeds garnered by the sale of Deripaska's shares in the two companies.

    Previous reports have said that Mnuchin never intended to sanction Deripaska at all, but rather was forced to do so after a slip of the tongue during congressional testimony.

    During Mnuchin's testimony before the US Senate Banking Committee on January 30, lawmakers grilled him about the Treasury Department's reluctance to impose sanctions on Russia. After Mnuchin was backed into a corner, he blurted out, "There will be sanctions that come out of this report." Mnuchin was referring to the Treasury Department's so-called "Kremlin List" report on more than 200 prominent Russians who could be targeted with sanctions.

    The slip-up forced Treasury Department officials to scramble to come up with sanctions that would match the secretary's congressional testimony, which he gave under oath, the Daily Beast previously reported. The Treasury announced the sanctions on Deripaska and his En+ Group and aluminum company Rusal in April. After the billionaire's companies saw their share prices collapse, the businessman stepped down as director of Rusal and left En+ Group's board of directors.


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