U.S. Gives Investors More Time to Divest from Russia’s GAZ Group

The United States Treasury Department said on Thursday it is giving investors more time to wind down connections with sanctioned Russian company GAZ Group, a company in which blacklisted Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska holds a large stake, Reuters reports.

The announcement comes a day after the Treasury said it plans to drop sanctions against three other Russian firms owned by Deripaska.

The U.S. said it would allow investors and businesses until March 7 to cut ties with GAZ, a vehicle-maker.

Deripaska and his businesses — including the world’s second-largest aluminum company, Rusal — were hit with sanctions in April in retaliation for Russian interference in the election and other hostile acts by Moscow.

After months of aggressive lobbying campaign by Deripaska’s companies, the Trump administration announced Wednesday that it intends to lift sanctions against Rusal, En+ Group and EuroSib Energo, all parts of the business empire of one of Russia’s most influential oligarchs.

The Treasury Department’s decision, which had been postponed for months, was both politically and economically sensitive and drew criticism from some Democrats and foreign policy analysts that the administration was sending the wrong signal to Moscow about its conduct towards the United States.

Rusal is among the world’s biggest companies in the aluminum industry, and questions about its fate had roiled global metals markets. And Deripaska’s stature in Russia made any decision seen to be in his favor tricky for the administration at a time when President Donald Trump is under investigation by the special counsel in connection with Russian interference in the 2016 election.