Mnuchin to Brief Democrats on Easing Deripaska-Linked Sanctions

(Bloomberg) -- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will brief key House Democrats Thursday on plans to end sanctions against three companies tied to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

The closed-door briefing is set for 4 p.m. on Capitol Hill, according to a House official familiar with the plans. The meeting is a response to a letter sent Tuesday jointly by the new Democratic heads of seven House committees asking Mnuchin to hold off on lifting the sanctions until he provided a full briefing on the decision.

The Treasury Department announced on Dec. 19 its intention to remove sanctions on United Co. Rusal, the world’s second-largest aluminum company, as well as EN+ Group Plc and EuroSibEnergo JSC. Mnuchin said the companies “have committed to significantly diminish Deripaska’s ownership and sever his control.” The move is to take effect 30 days later from the announcement unless Congress blocks it.

But the Democratic heads of committees on Tuesday asked Mnuchin to hold off on terminating the sanctions until their questions are answered. They said that the agreement “appears to keep intact significant ownership of EN+ by Mr. Deripaska, while reportedly transferring some shares and financial interests to the Kremlin-linked sanctioned Russian bank VTB.”

The committee heads also requested that Mnuchin make himself available “for a full discussion of all aspects of the agreement, the sanctions termination, and the impact that these decisions would have on the U.S. effort to end Russia’s malign activities aimed at our country."

Mnuchin to Brief Democrats on Easing Deripaska-Linked Sanctions

Deripaska will personally remain under American sanctions imposed in April on associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin over Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The letter was signed by Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal of Massachusetts; Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters of California; Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel of New York; Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff of California; Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings of Maryland; Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York; and Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi.

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