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Russian Tycoon Deripaska Resigns From Rusal Board Over U.S. Sanctions

Oleg Deripaska has also stepped down as a director of En+ Group, which owns almost half of Rusal and is itself subject to sanctions.

Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska has resigned from his position as director of his aluminum firm Rusal, in the latest move that he hopes will persuade the U.S. administration to ease sanctions targeting him and his companies.

Rusal said in a May 25 statement that the resignation in line with "the efforts that have been made by the management of the group to protect the interests of the company and its shareholders" since the U.S. sanctions were imposed last month.

Deripaska still holds a controlling stake in the En+ Group, the company that owns almost half of Rusal and is itself subject to sanctions.

The announcement comes a day after the company’s chief executive, Aleksandra Buriko, and half of its managerial board stepped down.

The U.S. Treasury Department announced new punitive measures against Russia in early April in response to Russia's "malign" activities around the world.

The fresh sanctions primarily targeted Russian oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin, including Deripaska, prompting Rusal shares to tumble while the price of aluminum soared.

To avoid further turmoil on the market, the U.S. government then indicated that Rusal, which produces 7 percent of the world's aluminum, could avoid being caught up in the sanctions by parting with Deripaska.

Deripaska has also stepped down as a director of En+ Group.

Reports say Deripaska is now considering having his En+ Group firm buy some of his shares so his stake is below the controlling level, in a further effort to persuade Washington to ease the sanctions on his businesses. Deripaska holds a 66 percent stake in En+ Group.

Such a move would resemble that of another sanctioned Russian tycoon, Viktor Vekselberg, the owner and president of the Renova Group conglomerate. One of Vekselberg's businesses, the Swiss-based Sulzer engineering firm, bought some of his shares, prompting the U.S. Treasury to say that Sulzer was not at risk from sanctions.

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