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US lifts sanctions on blacklisted Russian tycoon's companies

WASHINGTON: The US Treasury Department lifted sanctions on Sunday on Russian aluminum massive Rusal and two comparable firms after blacklisted billionaire Oleg Deripaska took action to sharply reduce his stake in them.

The rich person is understood to have pleasant relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and had business ties with US President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was once convicted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling within the 2016 election.

Deripaska is considered one of several oligarchs sanctioned ultimate 12 months in retaliation for what the US known as "the Russian government's ongoing and increasingly brazen pattern of malign activity across the world", bringing up its interference in Syria and its seizure of Crimea.

Rusal, EN+ Group Plc and EuroSibEnergo JSC have "reduced Oleg Deripaska's direct and indirect shareholding stake... and severed his control", the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said in a remark.

"The companies have also agreed to unprecedented transparency for Treasury into their operations by undertaking extensive, ongoing auditing, certification, and reporting requirements."

The delisting — first announced in December — came as the firms sought to avoid being locked out of world markets because of their close association with Deripaska.

The sanctions banned Americans and organisations with US divisions, comparable to many world banks, from doing business with the firms and froze Deripaska's private belongings in US jurisdictions.

"All sanctions on Deripaska continue in force," the OFAC said.

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