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House Democrats Demand Briefing On Russia Sanctions Move

Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska (file photo)
Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska (file photo)

Seven House committee leaders have called on U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to outline the reasons why the United States is easing sanctions on entities connected to Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska.

The Democrats wrote to Mnuchin on January 8 to inquire about a December announcement that the U.S. would lift sanctions on the aluminum manufacturing giant Rusal and two other companies linked to Deripaska.

Mnuchin said in December that Deripaska would stay blacklisted as part of sanctions aimed at tycoons with close ties to the Kremlin, but that the companies had committed to "significantly diminish Deripaska's ownership and sever his control."

In a letter to Mnuchin, the Democrats said on January 8 that the deal appears to allow Deripaska to keep "significant ownership" of one of the companies.

"As the chairs of committees with oversight jurisdiction over the U.S. response to Russia's attempts to interfere in our elections and other hostile actions, we have a number of concerns about the agreement that the U.S. has reached with Mr. Deripaska," the Democrats wrote.

They called on Mnuchin to delay implementation of the sanctions termination until he has fully briefed members of Congress about "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."

The Democrats gave Mnuchin until the end of the day on January 11 to respond.

The Treasury Department responded that it intends to provide the briefing and will do so as soon as possible.

With reporting by AP
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