Treasury Department acknowledges its authority to review Russian oligarch’s investment in Kentucky aluminum mill — but declines to say whether it will exercise that power
The Treasury Department, in a letter to Senate Democrats this week, would not say whether it will be reviewing Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska’s investment in a Kentucky aluminum mill — only that it has the authority to review the investment.
The letter was received by Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, who is the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee and shared it with McClatchy Newspapers. Wyden and other Democrats in Congress have been raising concerns about the Russian company Rusal pledging a $200 million investment in the Ashland, Kentucky-based aluminum firm Braidy Industries; Rusal is connected to Deripaska, who served as the company’s president until 2018.
Wyden, along with seven other Democrats in Congress, wrote a letter in May calling for the U.S. Treasury Department to investigate Rusal’s investment. And Wyden has said that he is “encouraged that the Treasury Department appears to be taking potential harm to national security from Rusal’s proposed investment seriously.”
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has been an enthusiastic supporter of Rusal’s investment and of Braidy Industries. In 2017, the Republican governor helped coordinate a $15 million direct investment in Braidy that, in effect, made all Kentucky residents partial owners of the company.
The Moscow-based Deripaska, founder of the industrial group Basic Element, is one of Russia’s leading oligarchs and is among the wealthiest men in that country.