“I appreciate [House] members’ interest in these important national security issues,” Mnuchin said in a statement released prior to the briefing. “I am committed to providing a full briefing, answering their questions and hearing their concerns.”
Earlier this week, a half dozen Democratic House committee chairmen asked Mnuchin for more details behind the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s recent decision to end sanctions imposed on Russian firms En+ Group, UC Rusal and JSC EuroSibEnergo.
OFAC notified Congress on Dec. 19 that it intends to end trade sanctions against the three companies in 30 days.
OFAC said the companies have completed “significant restructuring and corporate governance changes” that allow them to be delisted from the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) List.
On April 6, OFAC designated En+ for being owned or controlled by, directly or indirectly, Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and other entities he owns or controls. In that same action, OFAC designated Rusal for being owned or controlled by, directly or indirectly, En+. ESE, a wholly owned subsidiary of En+, also was designated.
Despite dropping the three Russian firms from the sanctions list, OFAC said Deripaska remains sanctioned and his property blocked. The same applies to other companies he controls.
Treasury recently designated Viktor Boyarkin, one of Deripaska’s close business associates. Under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), any person who knowingly facilitates a significant transaction for or on behalf of Deripaska faces secondary sanctions.
“One of the goals of sanctions is to change behavior, and the proposed delistings of companies that Deripaska will no longer control show that sanctions can result in positive change,” Mnuchin said.
He added that “Treasury will be vigilant in ensuring that En+ and Rusal meet these commitments. If these companies fail to comply with the terms, they will face very real and swift consequences, including the reimposition of sanctions.”
According to Mnuchin, the Trump administration has sanctioned 272 Russian individuals and entities, of which 256 are subject to Treasury-administered sanctions. This includes 150 individuals and entities under Ukraine/Russia-related sanctions authorities under CAATSA, he said.