WASHINGTON ― Most Senate Republicans voted on Wednesday against the enforcement of sanctions on several companies tied to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Facing opposition from the White House and from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the resolution's supporters needed 60 votes to move the proposal toward a final vote.
In the end, the measure fell just three votes short.
The result left its fate uncertain even though similar legislation has been introduced in the Democratic-led House of Representatives. "The Senate vote was whether to support the Treasury Department's implementation of the sanctions law in a specific case", Hoeven said in a statement, adding the agreement "places new stringent requirements on a Russian aluminum company, including new restrictions on its ownership, board of directors and requires audits and reports to the U.S. Treasury".
In April previous year, the U.S. imposed sanctions on him and 23 other Russian nationals for doing "malign activities", that also includes alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Any gains for the billionaire will remain on paper, however, as he the personal sanctions keep him from accessing any of his wealth held in the West. Deripaska also won't be able to receive dividends.
In December 2018, it became known that the US Treasury was ready to remove sanctions against three companies owned by Oleg Deripaska, En+, Rusal, and EuroSibEnergo, within 30 days if the main beneficiary followed a number of conditions, including the reduction of his control in En+ from roughly 70% to 44.95%.
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Democrat Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the bipartisan result sent a strong message to the Trump administration which he said was "trying to make an end run around Congress on an issue as important as Russian Federation sanctions". In a statement, Hawley said he voted against lifting sanctions because "Oleg Deripaska is a bad guy who still appears to be working in conjunction with Vladimir Putin".
Passage of a resolution of disapproval by the House and the Senate would have prevented the sanctions from being lifted.
Congress could act at any time to keep Trump from weakening sanctions on Russian Federation.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin lobbied GOP senators at the Capitol Tuesday to defeat the measure and indicated he's not backing down from his plan to lift sanctions against the companies.
Deripaska had ties with Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, documents have shown. Mr. Deripaska's companies waged an aggressive lobbying and legal campaign against the sanctions a year ago. "I said there's not a single bit of evidence the president of the United States committed the only crime you can commit here - conspired with the Russians to hack the DNC".