Russian aluminum maker investing in Kentucky plant after sanctions lifted

Russia's largest aluminum maker is investing in a Kentucky aluminum rolling mill just months after sanctions against the company were lifted, Bloomberg News reported Monday.

United Co. Rusal, whose largest shareholder is billionaire Oleg Deripaska, reportedly intends to invest $200 million into the plant being built by Braidy Industries Co.

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The agreement, which is set to run for 10 years, would turn Braidy into Rusal’s biggest customer and give the Russian company a foothold into the United States' rolled-aluminum market, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Rusal would own a 40 percent stake in the Braidy unit that will operate the mill, according to the Journal.

Rusal faced sanctions from the U.S. that effectively barred it from the global financial systems because of its ties to Deripaska. 

The Trump administration agreed to lift sanctions on Rusal after the Russian oligarch agreed to give up control, though he still owns the largest stake in the company.

The billionaire aluminum magnate remains under U.S. sanctions, which were part of a series of penalties against Russia over its meddling in the 2016 election.

Deripaska has denied the accusations and sued to get sanctions on him reversed.

Braidy CEO Craig Bouchard told Bloomberg that he is not concerned about the perception of buying metal from the Russian company.

“I’m aware of what happened, but it never entered my conversation or mind,” Bouchard said in a telephone interview.

“I’m not a politician, it’s all about the business, and I have 10,000 families in Appalachia riding on my shoulders, and anyone that can help me rebuild Appalachia is my friend.”