On Sunday, January 27, 2019, the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) removed UC Rusal plc (“Rusal”), EN+ Group plc (“En+”), and JSC EuroSibEnergo (“ESE”) from its Specially Designated Nationals (“SDN”) List, allowing both U.S. and non-U.S. persons to once again do business with these entities.
As discussed in our previous client alert, En+ was initially designated in April 2018 for being owned/controlled by Oleg Deripaska, an influential Russian oligarch who was also sanctioned as an individual, pursuant to Executive Orders 13661 and 13662. Simultaneously, OFAC designated Rusal for being owned/controlled by En+ and ESE for being owned/controlled by En+. OFAC issued a number of General Licenses authorizing certain transactions necessary to maintain or wind down operations or existing contracts with these companies, the last of which, Ukraine General License No. 14E, was due to expire on January 28, 2019.
The decision to delist these entities was taken pursuant to the “Terms of Removal”, which required Rusal, EN+, and ESE to reduce Oleg Deripaska’s direct and indirect shareholding stake and sever his control over the companies. Both U.S. and non-U.S. persons are now free to transact with Rusal, En+, ESE, and their subsidiaries. In response, the London Metal Exchange (“LME”) lifted its suspension on storing metals produced by Rusal in LME-approved warehouses.
While this action by OFAC reduces the number of Russian entities sanctioned by the United States, companies engaging in Russia-related transactions should continue to conduct enhanced due diligence into the ownership structure of their counterparties. Mr. Deripaska remains sanctioned and transactions with him and any entities in which he has an ownership stake of 50 percent or more are prohibited for U.S. and non-U.S. persons.