The United States on May 22 gave U.S. customers of Russian van manufacturer GAZ more time to wind down business with the company in the latest softening of sanctions against GAZ owner Oleg Deripaska.
The United States last month slapped sanctions on Deripaska and the companies he owns along with other Russian tycoons that have close ties to the Kremlin in response to Moscow's alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and what Washington called other "malign activities" by Russia.
The sanctions on GAZ are expected to affect its contracts with U.S. firm Cummins Inc. as well as with German carmakers Volkswagen and Daimler.
The U.S. Treasury Department said U.S. customers of GAZ will now have until October 23 instead of June 5 to wind down operations and contracts with GAZ. It also said it would consider lifting the sanctions against GAZ altogether if Deripaska cedes control of the company.
GAZ declined to comment. The company competes with other van manufacturers, including the Ford Motor Company and its Russian partner Sollers.
A similar reprieve from the sanctions was previously offered to Russia's Rusal, the world's second largest aluminum manufacturer, which is also owned by Deripaska. The metals giant was also told it could escape the sanctions if Deripaska cedes control of the company.
The treasury's move to delay the Rusal sanctions came after a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign by European countries, which were concerned about turmoil in the aluminium market caused by the penalties against the aluminum giant.
Deripaska has already said he agreed in principal to reduce his influence in the EN+ holding company which controls Rusal.