THE Russian owner of the company that holds the controlling stake in Aughinish Alumina in West Limerick is reportedly feeling the direct effect of US sanctions.
Oleg Deripaska, the billionaire owner of Rusal, Aughinish Alumina’s parent company, has had to hand back a number of private jets he was using and they are now up for sale, according to an exclusive Reuters report overnight.
The news agency is pointing to return of aircraft as an indication of how deeply the sanctions have affected Deripaska’s business empire, which has seen a direct impact on Rusal, the aluminum firm whose sales and supply chains have been heavily disrupted.
It said the sanctions had made it impossible for him to continue to use the three Gulfstream executive jets, two of which are now for up for sale.
Deep concern over the future of the 450 jobs at Aughinish Alumina had eased a little in recent weeks following the decision by the US to extend the deadline for companies to wind up business with Rusal from June to late October.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also said the US would provide relief from sanctions if Deripaska gave up control of the company.
However, it has been reported that Deripaska has no intention of selling his 48% share and instead plans to reshuffle his management team to focus in on the sanctions.
The hope is that further diplomatic approaches from Ireland and other European countries such as Germany, Italy and France which have significant auto and aviation industries which depend on supplies of aluminium, may lead to Aughinish or Rusal being exempted.
These approaches will rely heavily on “special relationships” with the US.