Sanctions Stir Smelly Troubles in US Parks

Sanctions imposed by the US Justice Ministry in early April on a group of companies Renova, controlled by Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, led to delays in the supply of sewage pumps from the Swiss Sulzer for the maintenance of public toilets in US parks, The Huffington Post said. 

Viktor Vekselberg, the Russian billionaire reportedly involved with $500,000 in payments to President Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen. 

Issues with toilet equipment that have been ongoing at the National Mall and Memorial Parks headquarters just east of the Jefferson Memorial, aggravated in March 2018 when the sewage pump burned down and rendered the building’s restrooms unusable for four weeks now.

To obtain new pumps, the National Park Service hired Chesapeake Environmental Equipment, a company based in Forest Hill, Maryland, that distributes Swiss Sulzer’s products. An online summary of the $9,468 contract lists the purchase as “Sewage Ejector Pumps For National Mall and Memorial Parks HQ Waste System.”

The problem is that Vekselberg and his Renova fell under US sanctions on April 6 among 26 other individuals and 15 companies. Restrictions, in particular, concern the very possibility of making settlements with such companies in the world reserve currency – the dollar. 

To continue normal work, the Swiss machine-building concern Sulzer on April 8 was forced to buy back about 15% of its shares from Vekselberg, thus reducing the share of Renova from 63.42% to 48.83%. 

On April 15, Sulzer reported defrosting of transactions in dollars. At the same time Vekselber will not be able to receive the money received from the transaction before the cancellation of sanctions. 

Christopher Scott, a U.S.-based attorney for Sulzer, told HuffPost that while the sanctions temporarily froze the company’s assets in the U.S., he could not speak to how exactly it might have impacted its business with Chesapeake.




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