The US Treasury is open to removing Russian aluminum producer United Co Rusal from a US sanctions list, US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said on Friday, adding that the objective is “not to put Rusal out of business.”
Mnuchin’s comment was the latest sign that the Trump administration is trying to aid sanctions-hit Rusal, the world’s second-largest aluminum producer, which has taken a series of steps to try to appease the US government and get the restrictions lifted.
The US Treasury in April imposed sanctions against billionaire Oleg Deripaska and the eight companies in which he is a large shareholder, including Rusal, in response to what it called “malign activities” by Russia.
However, the sanctions caused havoc in the global aluminum market, prompting several countries and companies to successfully lobby Treasury for a softening of the terms on Rusal.
“The company has approached us on certain delisting issues [from the Specially Designated Nationals List],” Mnuchin said in an interview with Reuters in Sao Paulo ahead of G20 finance meetings in Argentina this weekend.
“I’m not going to go into the exact specifics of what those proposals are and where we stand on them, but, yes, if we can find an acceptable solution, that is our objective,” Mnuchin said.
“Our objective is not to put Rusal out of business,” he added, acknowledging that Rusal is important to the global aluminum market.
Last month Rusal shareholders elected a new board of directors dominated by independent directors and operational managers.
Deripaska and a team of his top managers in May stepped down from Rusal’s board of directors and are currently working on several options to reduce his control over the company.
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