The sources said Deripaska’s representatives were in discussions with the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which oversees sanctions, to establish if the maneuver would certainly be deemed enough to remove the companies through the sanctions blacklist.
“the idea’s one of the options being discussed right now with OFAC,” said one of the sources.
A U.S. Treasury official, asked about any discussions with Deripaska’s representatives on him reducing his stake, said OFAC does not generally comment on ongoing discussions about sanctions relief.
“OFAC reviews each request based on the facts as well as circumstances of the case as well as individual merits,” the official said.
Underlining the depth of the difficulties facing Deripaska’s firms, a Russian government source said which Rusal had asked the Russian government to buy some of its output.
Since sanctions hit, stocks of aluminum ingots have been stacking up at at least one Rusal plant, because buyers have canceled orders.
The government source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Deripaska had also applied for loans for Rusal through Russian lender Promsvyazbank.
The bank is usually under the control of the Russian central bank as well as has been earmarked by the Kremlin to provide finance to sanctioned Russian firms, a task most regular banks will not undertake because of the sanctions risk.
Deripaska also sought state support for automaker GAZ, which is usually part of his business empire as well as has also been affected by the sanctions, the government source said.
Russian authorities have approved a loan for GAZ, yet no decision has yet been made on the loan request for Rusal, according to the source.
Rusal did not reply to a Reuters request for comment on requests for state help.