U.S. Gives Investors Three More Weeks to Divest from Rusal, En+

The U.S. Treasury has extended a deadline until November 12 for investors to divest holdings of debt, equity, and other assets in sanctioned Russian aluminum giant Rusal and its parent holding company EN+, Bloomberg reports.

The announcement on Friday said the extension was being provided to allow the companies to make “corporate governance changes.” Washington has pushed the companies to break ties with their owner, sanctioned Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

However, the announcement kept in place an October 23 deadline for divesting holdings in automaker GAZ Group. The Treasury had previously extended the deadline for the companies from August 5 to October 23.

The sanctions were imposed against Deripaska and eight companies in which he has large holdings, including Rusal, in response to what U.S. officials called Russia’s “malign activities,” including alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The sanctions primarily targeted Russian oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin.

Deripaska has held a controlling interest in En+, which in turn controls Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer outside of China. Automaker GAZ is also part of his business empire.

The sanctions against Rusal initially disrupted the global supply chain for aluminum and sent prices soaring, raising fears that the company would be unable to finance its operations and stay in business.

The scare prompted Rusal to accept the Treasury’s offer of an exemption from the sanctions if it severs ties with Deripaska. Rusal is the second-largest aluminum company in the world and an employer of an estimated 61,000 Russian miners and manufacturing workers.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said the United States was in talks with Rusal to remove it from the sanctions list. Mnuchin said Deripaska was the main target of the sanctions and that it was not Washington’s intent to cause the layoff of hundreds or thousands of Russian aluminum workers.