UPDATE 1-U.S. extends deadline for investors to divest holdings in Russia's Gaz

Gaz@ (Adds comment from Russian deputy PM)

MOSCOW, Oct 19 (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury said on Friday it was extending a deadline for investors to divest certain operations, debt and equity of sanctioned Russian company Gaz Group until Dec. 12.

The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions in April against billionaire Oleg Deripaska and eight companies in which he is a large shareholder, including automaker Gaz, citing "malign activities" by Russia.

The deadline for investors to divest holdings in Gaz had been Oct. 23.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said on Friday he had met with U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Jr to discuss U.S. sanctions on Gaz Group.

Kozak said the Russian government was exploring different options for Gaz to get around the sanctions.

"We are assessing different options, including with the participation of the government and other potential buyers," he said in a statement, without providing further details.

A spokeswoman for Gaz declined to comment. (Reporting by Polina Devitt, Darya Korsunskaya and Gleb Stolyarov; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Susan Fenton)