U.S. Eases Sanctions On Russian Oligarch Closely Tied To Russia Probe

Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.Screengrab/BBC Newsnight/YouTube

The Treasury Department will ease sanctions on Russian aluminum company Rusal, which has direct links to Oleg Deripaska.

The U.S. Treasury Department announced Monday that was easing sanctions on the Russian aluminum company Rusal, adding that it might lift sanctions altogether if the company cuts ties with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Deripaska is known to have a close relationship with President Vladimir Putin and reportedly has found himself caught up in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Rusal was sanctioned earlier this month by Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control because of Deripaska's stake in the company. The Russian billionaire is alleged to have conducted a range of illegal activities, including money laundering, extortion and ordering the murder of a businessman, according to Treasury.

After a “wind down” period, during which U.S. and foreign companies will face no consequences for doing business with Rusal, the Treasury Department will consider lifting sanctions outright:

"RUSAL has felt the impact of U.S. sanctions because of its entanglement with Oleg Deripaska, but the U.S. government is not targeting the hardworking people who depend on RUSAL and its subsidiaries," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

"Given the impact on our partners and allies, we are issuing a general license extending the maintenance and wind-down period while we consider RUSAL's petition," he added.

The key to sanctions relief will be “through divestment and relinquishment of control of RUSAL by Oleg Deripaska."

Deripaska made headlines last year after it was reported that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort offered him "private briefings" on the 2016 election less than two weeks after Trump became the Republican nominee.