LOUISVILLE--The news that Russian aluminum giant RUSAL will be the exclusive supplier for Braidy Industries, has raised some eyebrows around the Commonwealth.
Monday, Braidy Industries announced it received $200 million in funding thanks to an investment from RUSAL for its Ashland plant.
A news release from RUSAL said, "In exchange for its investment RUSAL will earn a 40% share. Braidy Industries will keep the balance 60%. The project debt will be raised from several financial institutions. "
Now, some are wondering about the closed-door terms of the deal.
RUSAL and its parent company, En+ Group, were both under federal sanctions until the Trump administration lifted those in January. Kentucky's senior senator Mitch McConnell spoke in support of lifting the sanctions.
RUSAL is partially owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who has ties to convicted felon Paul Manafort. Manafort gained national attention as President Trump's former campaign manager.
Deripaska himself was sanctioned in April 2018 for attempting to meddle in the 2016 election.
Deripaska's business partner, Len Blavatnik, whose businesses donated $3.5 million McConnell's Super PAC, Senate Leadership Fund, from late 2015- March 2017.
All that has Congressman John Yarmuth with questions about the investment. The Democrat from Louisville remarked, "It's cause for further scrutiny. When you've got a guy who is complicit with Mr. Manafort, who is now a convicted felon, you've got some questionable dealings. I'd like to see- I don't know what Mitch McConnell's involvement is, but clearly with a $3.5 million donation to his political activities. There's just a lot of suspicious connections there and the last thing we want is investing public money, as we've done in Kentucky, and potential federal money, in a situation with some very questionable actors."