MOSCOW – Russian aluminum giant United Co. Rusal said on Friday Oleg Deripaska had resigned as a non-executive director, expanding a sweeping overhaul of the company’s management and board in an effort to escape the sanctions program imposed by the administration of United States President Donald Trump.
Deripaska, who is widely seen as an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, resigned as president of Rusal earlier this year but had remained on the board as a non-executive director.
He is now vacating that role with immediate effect as a result of the sanctions, Rusal said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock exchange where its shares are traded.
Deripaska was among a handful of Russian tycoons, along with their corporate assets, that were targeted by the US in April.
Washington has imposed the sanctions to put economic and diplomatic pressure on Moscow over what Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has called Russia’s “malign activity” around the world, including military interventions in Syria and Ukraine and cyberattacks. Moscow has rejected the accusations.
In April, Deripaska agreed to sell down his majority ownership of EN+ Group PLC, the United Kingdom listed holding company that owns 48 percent of Rusal, in response to the sanctions.
The US Treasury has signaled that such a move could help Rusal escape the economic blacklist.
The exit of the 50-year-old billionaire from Rusal’s board comes a day after the company announced that Chief Executive Alexandra Bouriko and seven other board members had resigned in an effort to help the company avoid the sanctions program.
The company also warned that its earnings would be materially impacted by the sanctions.
Washington has given companies doing business with Rusal until Oct. 23 to wind down their dealings.
Rusal said on Thursday that it was taking all available steps to protect the interests of its shareholders, creditors and business partners.
Shares in Rusal are down 63 percent this year as the US ratcheted up pressure on Russia.
The stock was down 1.98 percent in Hong Kong on Friday after rising 6.9 percent on Thursday after the announcement of the initial wave of board departures.
Deripaska has also drawn attention in the US due to his ties to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. He said his ties with Manafort were commercial and that the relationship had ended in acrimony.
In January Deripaska sued Manafort in New York, alleging that he and a partner had misappropriated at least $18.9 million of funds.
Manafort has been indicted in separate cases in Washington and Virginia over work he did for Russian-backed politicians in Ukraine before the 2016 campaign.