U.S. House Financial Services Panel Postpones Sanctions Hearing

WASHINGTON, Feb 12 (Reuters) – The U.S. House Financial Services committee said it has postponed a planned hearing on the use of U.S. sanctions against North Korea, Iran, Russia and Venezuela.

The decision announced late Monday night helped nudge up the Russian ruble, which was also buoyed by higher oil prices on Tuesday.

In a statement, committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters said the hearing would be held at a future date but gave no other details. Representatives for the Democratic-controlled panel could not be immediately reached early on Tuesday morning.

The hearing, entitled “The Use of Sanctions and Economic Statecraft in Addressing U.S. National Security and Foreign Policy Challenges,” will examine the efficiency of major U.S. sanctions programs.

Lawmakers were to examine the Republican Trump administration’s actions toward Moscow, including the U.S. Department of Treasury’s recent ones regarding several Russian companies owned and controlled by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters . REUTERS/Gus Ruelas

U.S. sanctions were ordered against aluminum giant Rusal and parent company En+ last year, given Deripaska’s influence over the firms before the billionaire agreed in late 2018 to reduce his stake.

Deripaska and the largest companies in his portfolio were put on the U.S. Treasury sanctions blacklist in April for what Washington said at the time was profiting from their association with a Kremlin conducting “malign activities” around the globe.

Washington lifted the sanctions against the companies in January although they still apply to Deripaska.

The United States has also imposed sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program,

The Trump administration withdrew the United States from the 2015 international deal with Iran that had lifted sanctions in return for curbs on Tehran’s weapons program and moved to reinstate sanctions.

It has also imposed sanctions on Venezuela in an effort to squeeze President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)