DC delay fear: Democrats may stall the lifting of sanctions on Aughinish refinery owner

The US Treasury’s decision to lift sanctions on the owner of Aughinish Alumina refinery, which employs hundreds in West Limerick, could be delayed following concerns by Democrats that the Trump administration is being too soft on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Limerick Alumina Refining Ltd (LARL) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of United Company Rusal, controlled by Mr Deripaska. The future of Aughinish has been in doubt since last April when the US imposed sanctions on Mr Deripaska, whose EN+ group owns 48pc of Rusal. The Irish refinery, a key strategic asset for the supply of aluminium in Europe, has continued to operate at full capacity while managing the impact of supplies owing to a series of rolling reprieves by the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The lifting of the sanctions must be approved by Congress.

Democrats now control the House of Representatives, however as Republicans have a majority in the Senate, the move to lift the sanctions is ultimately likely to be approved.

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