Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska Invests $200 Million In Kentucky, Democrats See Ploy To Influence Mitch McConnell
Democratic lawmakers called on the Trump Administration on Thursday to review an investment in a Kentucky aluminum mill by a Russian oligarch. Many Democratic members of Congress fear that the deal would give the Russians undue influence over America and its economy, and that in the wake of the 2016 election hacking, the Russians cannot be trusted.
The Russian aluminum company, Rusal, as well as its parent company EN+, was under sanctions by the U.S. Treasury Department until only four months ago. The sanctions had prevented the companies from doing business in the United States, as they were largely controlled by the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska and his allies were thought to be heavily involved in the 2016 election rigging that brought Trump into office, resulting in the Treasury Department banning the company from the country.
As a result of a high-level legal and lobbying campaign, Rusal and EN+ managed to regain the right to do business in the country. As part of the deal to lift the sanctions against them, the Treasury Department required the companies to restructure themselves in order to reduce the power of Mr. Deripaska. However, recently revealed documents have displayed that Deripaska still retains heavy control of EN+.
Regardless of the ownership of the company, Craig Bouchard, the chairman and chief executive of Braidy Industries, the American organization that is working with Rusal on the Kentucky deal, claims that the deal has no malicious intent. Bouchard insists that the investment is only in a new mill, and not at the parent level of the American company, thereby giving no real power to Rusal. Furthermore, by creating a new aluminum mill, Rusal will be helping to create hundreds of jobs in the region, greatly benefiting the local economy. As more and more factories have been shutting down in rural America, more citizens are being put out of work. Rusal’s creation of new jobs is a welcome breath of fresh air for those in Appalachia. Democrats point out that the factory is located in the home state of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and may simply be a ploy for political influence.