16 Jun 2021
Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska lost a lawsuit that had challenged the basis for sanctions the U.S. imposed upon him in April 2018.
In a ruling issued Sunday, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta said the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) had acted within its authority to sanction Deripaska for acting on behalf of a senior Russian government official and operating in the energy sector.
“Deripaska asks this court to second guess OFAC where its expertise, and thus its authority, is at its zenith. The court declines to do so,” Mehta ruled. “It is…firmly within the agency’s purview to apply its expertise in determining which sectors are subject to sanction and the scope of those sectors.”
Speaking to Russian state-owned news outlet RIA, Deripaska said the U.S. ruling “ignored the essence of the case,” which he believed was that the sanctions on him and his companies had led to devastating consequences for hundreds of thousands of people on the basis of tabloid articles. “I will continue to defend both myself and those who were made pawns in dirty political games against their will,” he was quoted by RIA as saying.
A number of Deripaska’s companies were also sanctioned at the time of his designation, though a few of his key enterprises, including aluminum giant United Company RUSAL PLC, were later delisted after the billionaire agreed to lower his ownership stake and relinquish control. More recently, RUSAL announced it would separate its higher-carbon assets into another company and change its name to AL+ as part of the process.
By Samuel Rubenfeld, Kharon, 14 June 2021
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