The Treasury department on Sunday released a statement that it was rebuking sanctions on three companies tied to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, Fox News informed. The move comes after Congress attempted to block this action due to the lawmaker’s concerns that the Trump administration is not being tough enough on Russian President Vladimir Putin and his allies.
Treasury said it was lifting the sanctions against the Russian aluminum giant Rusal and two other companies from its sanctions list due to the fact that these firms have reduced Deripaska’s direct and indirect shareholding stake.
Congress tried to block the administration’s efforts to rebuke the sanctions. In the House, 136 Republicans along with the Democrats voted to disapprove the agreement, while the Senate 11 Republicans gave their support for this act and 60 votes were needed.
The two votes represented a major break in the solid GOP backing Trump has enjoyed during his first two years as a president and sent a strong signal that congressional Republicans would vote differently from the White House on national security issues.
In its brief statement, Treasury stated that Rusal and the other two companies, En+ Group and EuroSiobEnergo, had cut Deripaska’s control.
“This action ensures that the majority of directors on the En+ and Rusal boards will be independent directors … who have no business, professional or family ties to Deripaska,” Treasury said.
The statement also said that the companies had agreed to “unprecedented transparency for Treasury into their operations by undertaking extensive, ongoing auditing, certification and reporting requirements.”
Treasury Secreatary Steven Mnuchin urged the lawmakers not to vote for a bill that will block the removal of the sanctions.
Treasury stated that although the sanctions are being lifted from these three companies, Deripaska will stay on the blacklist as a target tycoon with close ties to the Kremlin.
Mnuchin’s appearance before House and Senate lawmakers did not manage to persuade critics of the move. House Financial Services Chairman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., stated that the U.S. should not align its interests with people that undermine the democracy.