Investors Seek to Remove 'Oligarch Risk'

The impending threat of more sanctions had already made investors skeptical of Russian businesses, seen as more vulberable to U.S. action than the sovereign.

Their fears proved justified when on the 6th of April, the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on a range of Russian companies and “oligarchs”, which are businessmen deemed to be close to the Kremlin.

Rusal, aluminimum company, has been one of the core targets. Rusal has warned that the impact of sanctions could trigger technical default on some of its debts. In addition, the sanctions imposed on Rusal this month go further, restricting U.S. investors from having any dealings with the sanctioned entities.

Russia’s sovereign debt and assets of other Russian companies are not yet sanctioned but that may change. Furthermore, Washington researching at new sanctions targeting Russian companies allegedly dealing with equipment related to chemical weapons in Syria.

In January, the U.S. Treasury named at least 210 wealthy Russians on a list which is seen as the place to look for clues. It named 96 oligarchs, including Vladimir Potanin, co-owner of Norilsk Nickel, metals magnates Alisher Usmanov and Alexei Mordashov and CEOs of two big state-run banks.