Trump admin to lift sanctions on firms owned by Russian oligarch Deripaska

The Trump administration plans to lift sanctions on companies owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska after he significantly reduced his ownership stake in them. 

The Treasury Department announced Wednesday that it would lift financial sanctions on Deripaska’s aluminum company, United Co. Rusal, as well as En+ Group plc and JSC EuroSibEnergo in 30 days, after Deripaska agreed to reduce his ownership stake in each of the companies to below 50 percent.

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Deripaska, a billionaire aluminum magnate with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, will remain sanctioned and his property blocked. 

“Treasury sanctioned these companies because of their ownership and control by sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, not for the conduct of the companies themselves,” Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump applauds two-year budget deal with 0 billion spending hike On The Money: Trump, Congress reach two-year budget, debt limit deal | What we know | Deal gets pushback from conservatives | Equifax to pay up to 0M in data breach settlement | Warren warns another 'crash' is coming Overnight Defense: Iran's spy claim adds to tensions with US | Trump, lawmakers get two-year budget deal | Trump claims he could win Afghan war in a week MORE said in a statement.

“These companies have committed to significantly diminish Deripaska’s ownership and sever his control. The companies will be subject to ongoing compliance and will face severe consequences if they fail to comply,” he continued.

The sanctions on Deripaska and his companies were imposed in April under a law passed by Congress to punish Russia for interfering in the 2016 presidential election, in addition to other malign activities.

The sanctions will be lifted in 30 days, according to Treasury, but Congress could still block the move. 

In a joint statement later Wednesday, the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee noted that the agreement between Treasury and Deripaska “does not change the fact that Mr. Deripaska, his employees, and his companies work at Vladimir Putin’s behest and operate as de facto representatives of the Russian government.”

Sens. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders mounts staunch defense of 'Medicare for All' | Biden, Sanders fight over health care heats up | House votes to repeal ObamaCare 'Cadillac Tax' | Dems want details on fetal tissue research ban Top North Carolina newspapers editorial board to GOP: 'Are you OK with a racist president?' Hillicon Valley: Senate bill would force companies to disclose value of user data | Waters to hold hearing on Facebook cryptocurrency | GOP divided on election security bills | US tracking Russian, Iranian social media campaigns MORE (R-N.C.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerEquifax breach settlement sparks criticism Election security to take back seat at Mueller hearing Top Democrats demand security assessment of Trump properties MORE (D-Va.) added that the deal “will require constant monitoring to ensure that neither Mr. Deripaska nor the Russian government violate the terms of the agreement” and insisted Congress will “hold accountable those who would violate” the sanctions.

The Trump administration separately on Wednesday unveiled new sanctions on Russian intelligence officers for election interference and the nerve agent attack on an ex-Russian spy in Britain.

-Updated 4:50 p.m.