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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Hungary. Media: the critical situation of the Russian International Investment Bank, called the “bank of spies”

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The Budapest-based International Investment Bank (IIB), which is dubbed the “bank of spies” and almost half of which belongs to Russia, is in a critical situation due to the sanctions imposed on the Kremlin after the aggression against Ukraine, reported the Hungarian portal HVG.

“After Russia she attacked UkraineEuroclear has blocked tens of billions of dollars worth of securities held by Russians,” the portal wrote. Euroclear is a European custodian based in Brussels. According to HVG, the bank has used up almost all of its liquid reserves and is in danger of bankruptcy.

Although in autumn 2022 it seemed possible to recover the frozen assets, after the intervention of the Belgian Ministry of Finance, the case collapsed. The ministry claimed that several members of the bank’s board of directors “have ties to the Russian government, which has a controlling influence on IIB.”

In February, the bank became the target of hackers who gained access to its documents. One was a letter in which Hungarian economic development minister Marton Nagy lobbies the Belgian finance minister to unblock IIB funds. Among the documents published by the hackers, there is also a project that provides for inclusion Serbia and increasing shares Hungarian in the bank. Such a scenario had previously been signaled by the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter Szijjarto.

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A bank in an extremely difficult situation

Gergely Gulyas, head of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s office, recently asked at a press conference about the state of IIB, admitted that the bank was “in an exceptionally difficult situation” and did not know whether it was possible to save it.

Russia currently owns almost 50% of shares in the bank, while the Hungarian state, the second largest shareholder, owns about 25 percent.

The International Investment Bank was founded in 1970 by the countries of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, an organization coordinating economic cooperation between countries dependent on the USSR. Initially, its headquarters was located in Moscow, but in 2019 it was moved to Budapest.

After the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania announced their withdrawal from the IIB. Currently, Hungary is de facto the only country in the European Union that belongs to the bank. The other members are Cuba, Mongolia, Russia and Vietnam.

Main photo source: IBB

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