Lobbying firm sought envoys help to salvage Russian company

Published 07-14-2018

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WASHINGTON (AP) – A U.S. lobbying firm sought to recruit the ambassadors of France, Germany and other countries to demonstrate international support for severing Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska's control of Rusal, the aluminum manufacturing giant sanctioned by Washington.

Justice Department documents show that Mercury LLC drafted messages for at least six envoys to send to U.S. government officials expressing support for a plan to salvage Rusal by paring back his ownership stake in the company.

The records are the latest installment in a drama full of international intrigue due to Deripaska's close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the collateral damage the sanctions caused.

It's unclear how many of the ambassadors sent the messages, although Jamaica's did.

The Treasury Department and the State Department declined comment on Mercury's lobbying effort.

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FILE - In this July 2, 2015, file photo, Russian metals magnate Oleg Deripaska attends Independence Day celebrations at Spaso House, the residence of the American Ambassador, in Moscow, Russia. A U.S. lobbying firm sought to recruit the ambassadors of France, Germany and other countries to demonstrate international support for severing Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska’s control of Rusal, the aluminum manufacturing giant sanctioned by Washington. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File) - The Associated Press


FILE - In this Nov. 10, 2017, file photo, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, left, and Oleg Deripaska, right, attend the APEC Business Advisory Council dialogue in Danang, Vietnam. A U.S. lobbying firm sought to recruit the ambassadors of France, Germany and other countries to demonstrate international support for severing Russian oligarch Deripaska’s control of Rusal, the aluminum manufacturing giant sanctioned by Washington. Deripaska’s close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin are under a microscope while unintended targets of the U.S. penalties struggle with the punishment’s impact. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File) - The Associated Press


FILE - In this June 4, 2015, file photo, Gregory Barker arrives at the TodayTix Launch Party in London. A U.S. lobbying firm, Mercury LLC, sought to recruit the ambassadors of France, Germany and other countries to demonstrate international support for severing Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska’s control of Rusal, the aluminum manufacturing giant sanctioned by Washington. Deripaska’s close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin are under a microscope while unintended targets of the U.S. penalties struggle with the punishment’s impact. Leading the way, in an odd twist, is a conservative member of Britain’s House of Lords, Gregory Barker, who hired Mercury to salvage Rusal and EN+ by casting Deripaska as the heavy. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP) - The Associated Press