U.S. Delays Rusal Sanctions as Talks With Deripaska Continue

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Treasury Department delayed imposing sanctions on Russia’s largest aluminum producer, United Co. Rusal, for the fifth time, as it seeks to strike a deal that would allow the company to escape the penalties.

Treasury said in a notice Friday that licenses allowing Rusal to continue doing business would be extended to Jan. 21 from the prior Jan. 7 expiration. The extension gives Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska more time to give up control of Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer.

Treasury officials have been negotiating with Deripaska to lift sanctions on En+ Group Plc, the company that holds Deripaska’s stake in Rusal.

The department in April announced it would block Deripaska, and any company in which he holds a majority ownership, from the U.S. financial system. He was targeted in a sanctions package that hit nearly 40 Russian tycoons, businesses and government officials close to President Vladimir Putin in retaliation for Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.

But since April, Treasury has repeatedly extended the deadline for companies to comply with the sanctions on Rusal. The delays have softened the impact on the aluminum industry, which was sent into chaos after Treasury announced the sanctions.

Rusal has been largely shut out of signing new aluminum contracts, an indication that sanctions on Deripaska are hitting the company even as negotiations with Treasury continue. Even though Treasury is allowing some new contracts, the uncertainty of the situation has scared buyers away, Bloomberg News reported last month.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.