'Circumstances have changed': Russian oligarch Deripaska asks US Treasury to lift sanctions
Billionaire Oleg Deripaska has filed a petition for lifting sanctions from him at the US Department of the Treasury’s Foreign Asset Control Office (OFAC). The request for the lifting of sanctions “in administrative order” was submitted on June 27 of 2019 of the year, follows from the memorandum sent by the representatives of Deripaska to the District of Columbia court on November 5. Writes about this RBC.
OFAC regulations provide for the possibility for a person on the SDN (Specially Designated Nationals - personal sanctions) list to apply to the board for review of this decision. The grounds for lifting the sanctions may be a “positive change in behavior”, the irrelevance of the reason for which the sanctions were introduced, or an actual OFAC error.
However, decisions to lift OFAC sanctions at the request of sub-sanctions are extremely rare. Journalists sent a request to the lawyer of the United States Deripaska Eric Ferrari of Ferrari & Associates. The representative of a businessman in Russia declined to comment.
On what basis does Deripaska ask to lift sanctions
OFAC's lifting of sanctions is part of Deripaska's legal strategy along with ongoing litigation against OFAC. The businessman was included in the sanctions list on two formal grounds.
On the subject: US imposes new sanctions against Russia over Syria
He allegedly acted “on behalf of / in the interests of” senior officials of the Russian Federation (in particular, in 2005 he bought an aluminum plant in Montenegro “on the instructions of President Vladimir Putin”).
He “works in the energy sector” of Russia (he owned the electricity company EuroSibEnergo).
Both grounds are contained in decrees of former US President Barack Obama: the first is in Decree No. 13661, the second is in Decree No. 13662. The documents were signed in March 2014 in response to the aggravation of the situation in Ukraine.
The administrative petition for the lifting of sanctions applies only to the second ground. Deripaska points out that the circumstance that led to the imposition of sanctions - his ownership of EuroSibEnergo - lost relevance after the businessman gave up control of the En + group, which includes EuroSibEnergo. In January 2019, OFAC removed En +, Rusal, and EuroSibEnergo from the sanctions list.
In addition, Deripaska points out that listing him on the sanctions list on the basis of Decree No. 13662 was erroneous, since EuroSibEnergo does not work in the “energy” sector (energy, that is, oil and gas), but in the electricity generation sector.
Is there an OFAC reaction
Deripaska waited for a response from OFAC within 90 days, since this is the period the agency usually takes for an answer (although the rules allow for “unique” cases and deadlines for consideration), but “after four months I received neither a list of questions from OFAC, nor any or correspondence on the merits of his request. ” “Deripaska believes that OFAC does not intend to take seriously his request for a review of the factual grounds for the sanctions,” the document says.
Therefore, in November 2019, a businessman asked a District of Columbia court to attach evidence to the current lawsuit that OFAC, in violation of U.S. administrative procedures, ignored his request to be removed from the sanctions list. Deripaska asks the court to oblige OFAC to decide on his petition and to annul the sanctions for involvement in the "energy sector".
In parallel, Deripaska continues to sue OFAC over the first reason for inclusion in the sanctions list - activities “in the interests” of high-ranking Russian officials. The businessman’s defense, in particular, indicates that even if he acted “in support” of Vladimir Putin’s projects, this does not mean acting “on behalf” of the president — in other words, Deripaska did not act as Putin’s “agent”. “Deripaska pursued his own commercial interests regardless of whether they intersected with the proposed projects of Vladimir Putin,” the document says.
As ForumDaily wrote earlier:
- Oleg Deripaska in US court first revealed what property he had frozen in America because of sanctions.
- After the imposition of sanctions to Oleg Deripaska had to return three private jets he rentedbecause he could no longer use them.
- 15 March 2019 year of Deripaska sued in Washington lawsuit against the US Department of the Treasury. The businessman demanded that the sanctions imposed against him in 2018 be lifted. According to court materials, Deripaska estimated financial losses from sanctions at $ 7,5 billion.
- “I have spent 30 years of my life creating companies that are major players in the global economy, and I won’t allow this hard work - along with millions of jobs and livelihoods - to be destroyed by political intrigue,” the businessman said. Later himself Deripaska explainedwhy sued the USA.
- 11 June 2019 year, about three dozen employees of the GAZ automobile plant owned by Deripaska, went on a picket against sanctions in the center of Moscow near the US Embassy. On the posters were the slogans “Do not push on GAZ!”, “Sanctions against GAZ - sanctions against me and my children.” There were also several posters with inscriptions in English: “Sanctions kill cooperation”, “Save GAZ, save me”, “Sanctions harm us, not Putin. Who are you fighting against? ”
- The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Deripaska and his eight companies in April 2018: they were included on the Specially Designated Nationals list. Those involved in this list are prohibited from entering the United States, their assets in the United States are blocked, and persons from the United States are forbidden to have any business relationship with them. In January USA lifted sanctions from three Deripaska companies (the billionaire himself remained under sanctions). Democrats in Congress demanded to leave all sanctions in force. In particular, they claimed that the "oligarch" "promotes the malicious actions" of the Russian regime against the United States.
- After lifting the sanctions Deripaska company began to invest billions of dollars in the United States. UC Rusal plans to invest $ 200 million in the construction of a plant in Kentucky.
- US Treasury Department revealed list of documents on which the decision was based to include billionaire Oleg Deripaska in the list of “Kremlin oligarchs” and impose sanctions on him.
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