First victim of new sanctions: Deripaska quits Rusal

First victim of new sanctions: Deripaska quits Rusal

Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska has stepped down from his role as non-executive director of Russia's Rusal, the company said in a statement released today via the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The world's second largest aluminum producer, said in a statement that the decision was taken in order to "protect the interests of the company and its shareholders." Deripaska's departure follows those of the company's CEO and seven other directors, which were announced yesterday.

Earlier, First Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov approved of Rusal management’s decision to leave the company. "That's good, that means that sanctions will be lifted soon," he commented on the news of the departure of Rusal's management.

According to the minister, it would be nice to see the American side’s sound approach to this issue.

Chairman of the State Duma’s Financial Market Committee, Anatoly Aksakov, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Deripaska's departure could serve as a precedent for getting sanctions lifted from Russian companies, but only if the United States really lifts the restrictions imposed on Rusal. "In some cases, I think this can be repeated," the deputy said.

According to him, after the departure of Oleg Deripaska and his people from the top management of Rusal the US sanctions will almost certainly be cancelled. "The Americans will try to do everything to show their effective fight against those who are perceived to be undesirable persons, and at the same time to show what happens to the organization if it follows the recommendations of the US authorities," Anatoly Aksakov emphasized.

A leading analyst of the National Energy Security Fund, a lecturer at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Igor Yushkov, in turn, Deripaska's departure from Rusal will be an exception. "I do not think that this creates a significant precedent, especially for the companies and personalities who were under the first and second wave of sanctions. The case of Deripaska is unique because he was suspected of participating in some negotiations with US politicians who influenced the US presidential election. He was sanctioned precisely for this, that is why Washington imposed sanctions on Rusal," he recalled.

"But in the case of this year's sanctions against businessmen allegedly close to Vladimir Putin, their withdrawal from the companies from the point of view of the United States will change nothing, according to the US. For example, Gennady Timchenko was on the blacklist, he owns NOVATEK, which is under sanctions, but if he sells his stake in NOVATEK, the company will not be withdrawn from the sanctions list, and vice versa - Timchenko owns a stake in SIBUR, but SIBUR was not placed under sanctions. Therefor, it can be a precedent, only if companies are subject to sanctions in the future for the same reason as and Rusal - because its owner allegedly interfered in US internal affairs. Then we can expect that such a businessman will sell his assets and leave the company's management to withdraw the company from sanctions," Igor Yushkov explained.

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