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Hungary to cease cooperation with Russian-owned bank after sanctions

by The Kyiv Independent news desk April 13, 2023 9:42 PM 1 min read
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Hungary will cease cooperation with the Russia-owned International Investment Bank following sanctions imposed on the financial institution by the U.S. Treasury, business news outlet Világgazdaság reported on April 13.

The U.S. Treasury announced additional sanctions on April 12 to limit "Russia’s access to the international financial system through facilitators and their businesses."

According to the U.S. Treasury's statement, International Investment Bank's continued presence in Hungary "enables Russia to increase its intelligence presence in Europe, opens the door for the Kremlin’s malign influence activities in Central Europe and the Western Balkans, and could serve as a mechanism for corruption and illicit finance, including sanctions violations."

Bulgaria, Czechia, Romania, and Slovakia ceased all cooperation with IIB, the U.S. Treasury wrote. Hungary is the last European country to do so.

Russia owns nearly 50% of the bank, which was originally founded by countries of the former Warsaw Pact in 1970 and has been headquarted in Budapest since 2019, Világgazdaság wrote.

Hungary's decision to seize cooperation with IIB was influenced by several contributing factors, including western sanctions imposed on Russia following its full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the bank's looming insolvency threat, according to unnamed sources cited by Világgazdaság.

Hungary has been under fierce criticism from fellow European Union member states for its continued ties to Russia.

The news about IIB comes after Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto visited Moscow on April 11 to sign a new energy agreement ensuring Hungary's continued access to Russian energy sources, despite Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine.

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