ICYMI: House Chairs Demand Answers On Sanctions Relief For Russian Oligarch

Jan 9, 2019

Washington, D.C. –Yesterday, the chairs of seven committees in the House of Representatives called on the Trump Administration to explain the easing of sanctions on businesses tied to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. In response to a December 19, 2018 notification that the Treasury Department intends to terminate sanctions against three companies tied to Deripaska, the lawmakers wrote Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin requesting a briefing for Members of Congress and a postponement of the sanctions termination until Members’ questions are resolved.

The letter was signed by Chairman Jerrold Nadler of the Committee on the Judiciary; Chairman Richard E. Neal of the House Committee on Ways and Means; Chairwoman Maxine Waters of the Committee on Financial Services; Chairman Eliot L. Engel of the Committee on Foreign Affairs; Chairman Adam B. Schiff of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; Chairman Elijah E. Cummings of the Committee on Oversight and Reform; and Chairman Bennie G. Thompson of the Committee on Homeland Security.

“The notification to Congress was delivered just prior to an adjournment for an extended recess and during which time a government shutdown ensued, which makes it difficult to complete our review of this matter within the 30-day period provided in CAATSA,” wrote the Members. “We request that you be available for a meeting with all interested Members, in an appropriate setting to allow for a full discussion of all aspects of the agreement, the sanctions termination and the impact these decisions would have on the U.S. effort to end Russia’s malign activities aimed at our country.”

Full text of the letter follows and can be found here.

Dear Secretary Mnuchin: 

We write in response to a December 19th notification to Congress indicating that the Treasury Department intends to terminate sanctions on Rusal, EN+ and EuroSibEnergo, as part of a deal with Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who has abetted the Putin Regime’s malign activity against the United States.

As the Chairs of committees with oversight jurisdiction over the U.S. response to Russia’s attempts to interfere in our elections and other hostile actions, we have a number of concerns about the agreement that the U.S. has reached with Mr. Deripaska.

The Terms of Removal focus on restructuring Mr. Deripaska’s relationship with EN+, Rusal, and ESE, the altered governance structure of EN+ and Rusal, and enhanced reporting requirements. However, the agreement appears to keep intact significant ownership of EN+ by Mr. Deripaska, while reportedly transferring some shares and financial interests to the Kremlin-linked sanctioned Russian bank VTB.

There are a number of additional questions that we and other Members of Congress must pursue in order to fully assess whether the U.S. agreement and the sanctions terminations are justified.

We also note that the notification to Congress was delivered just prior to an adjournment for an extended recess and during which time a government shutdown ensued, which makes it difficult to complete our review of this matter within the 30-day period provided in CAATSA.

We request that you be available for a meeting with all interested Members, in an appropriate setting to allow for a full discussion of all aspects of the agreement, the sanctions termination, and the impact that these decisions would have on the U.S. effort to end Russia’s malign activities aimed at our country.

Further, we request that the Treasury Department delay the implementation of the sanctions termination to allow sufficient time for you to fully brief Members on this matter and to resolve the pending questions. We would appreciate fulfillment of this request by no later than the close of business on Friday, January 11, 2019.                                                               

Sincerely,

Jerrold Nadler
Chairman
Committee on the Judiciary

Richard E. Neal                                                                 
Chairman                                                                         
Ways and Means Committee                                                                                                                           

Maxine Waters
Chairwoman
Financial Services Committee

Eliot Engel                                                                       
Chairman                                                                         
Foreign Affairs Committee                                                   

Adam B. Schiff
Chairman
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Elijah E. Cummings                                                           
Chairman                                                                         
Committee on Oversight and Reform                                             

Bennie G. Thompson
Chairman
Committee on Homeland Security

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