Bowing to U.S. Sanctions, Deripaska Relinquishes Rusal’s Reins

Deripaska WEF

In a move aimed at encouraging the Trump administration to ease sanctions on the firm, Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska has stepped down from his position at the helm of U.C. Rusal.

The Russian aluminium giant submitted notice of the same to the Hong Kong Exchange yesterday, noting that Deripaska’s resignation took effect the same day. The notice stressed that the board of directors has no contention with Deripaska or any of his actions, and that nothing surrounding his stepping down was of sufficient significance to bring to the attention of the company’s shareholders.

Deripaska’s departure is one of several moves the businessman is making in an effort at mollifying the United States government. In addition to stepping down from Rusal, sources say Deripaska is in the process of selling a portion of his share in En+ Group, Rusal’s parent company, to at or below a level that would satisfy U.S. Treasury Department regulators to begin considering dropping sanctions.

Rusal has already gone to great lengths to attempt to show U.S. regulators their good-faith attempts at complying with sanctions. Just a day before, the firm announced that its chief executive and seven other board members stepped down due to their perceived association with Deripaska and his associates.

Rusal has been navigating tempestuous waters since the U.S. Treasury Department announced the sanctions early last month. According to the United States government, Deripaska was one of several Russian businessmen and firms engaged in “malign activities” in several countries, including allegedly meddling in the 2016 United States presidential election that brought Donald Trump to power.

In the intervening weeks, Rusal has suffered from significant supply chain problems, an increasingly skittish customer base, difficulty in accessing financing, and spiraling stock prices. In addition, company operations in countries far outside Russia are facing tremendous difficulties as well, and third parties with longstanding business dealings with Rusal have been sent scrambling to find alternatives lest they face sanctions from the United States government themselves.



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