Rusal CEO, board members quit in quest for US sanctions relief

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A Russian aluminum giant just lost its CEO and most of its board as it tries to wriggle out of United States sanctions.

Oleg Deripaska was included by the U.S. Treasury extended sanctions list in early April.

Separately, Rusal reportedly resumed shipping aluminum to some customers last week following the extension of the deadline for companies to wind down contracts under us sanctions.

Whilst further evaluation is being carried out by the Company to assess the impact of the OFAC Sanctions on the Group, the Company reiterates that its current assessment is that it is still highly likely that the impact may be materially adverse to the business and prospects of the Group.

"Oleg Deripaska, non-executive director of the Company, has tendered his resignation as a director of the Company with effect from 25 May 2018", the company's statement said.

Rusal said their departures were part of efforts "to protect the interests of the Company and its shareholders".

Treasury issued an update to its Russian sanctions program on Tuesday directed at GAZ, which Deripaska controls. In addition, since June 28, members of the En+ board of directors, which is controlled by Deripaska, have left their posts.

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Russian authorities have approved a loan for GAZ, but no decision has yet been made on the loan request for Rusal, according to the source.

Evgeny Nikitin, head of Rusal's aluminum division, has been appointed by the board as the acting CEO of the company for a period from May 23 until the board appoints a new CEO.

"As at the date of this announcement, the company has not received any formal resignation from Mr Deripaska", it added. The group declined immediate comment when contacted by Reuters.

In a separate statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange, Rusal said it was of the opinion that global financial institutions were likely to stop dealing with the group unless the U.S. sanctions were lifted or the company was granted a new licence by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

The Russian billionaire, who has close ties to President Vladimir Putin, agreed last month to reduce his stake in EN+ Group - the holding company that controls Rusal - to below 50%.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Thursday the Russian state would provide the firm with loans at market rates if banks refuse to lend to Rusal for fear of falling foul of USA sanctions.

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