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U.S. Lawmakers Seek Treasury Records On Deripaska Sanctions Decision

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's decision to lift sanctions on Oleg Deripaska's companies has sparked concern among House Democrats.

Congressional Democrats are pushing to get documents from the U.S. Treasury Department about its decision to lift financial sanctions on companies connected to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Three senior Democrats in the House of Representatives sent a letter on January 29 to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking for the materials.

The lawmakers said they want a broad array of materials "regardless of classification"-- an indication they also want classified intelligence reporting.

The three were Adam Schiff, who heads the House Intelligence Committee; Maxine Waters, chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee; and Eliot Engel, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The fate of the U.S. sanctions against Deripaska's aluminum and related companies has drawn deep scrutiny in Congress for months.

A billionaire with close ties to the Kremlin, Deripaska himself has been personally sanctioned by the Treasury Department, but measures imposed on his companies earlier this year roiled global metals markets.

After what was reported to be a sustained lobbying campaign, the companies, which included Rusal and En+, succeeded in persuading the Treasury Department that Deripaska would divest some of his holdings, resolving the issue.

Congress tried but failed to block the Treasury from lifting sanctions, and on January 27 the U.S. administration formally lifted the measures.

But news reports have since documented how Deripaska’s divestments may end up benefiting family members, other oligarchs, and a state-controlled Russian bank.

With reporting by AP