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Monday, May 20, 2024

USA: new sanctions against the International Investment Bank (IIB)

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The IIB’s presence in Budapest enables Russia to increase its intelligence presence in Europe, opens the door to the Kremlin’s malign influence in Central Europe and the Western Balkans, and can serve as a mechanism for corruption and illicit finance, including sanctions violations, the US Finance Department said in a statement announcing another round of sanctions. It is also about a network of people and entities involved in circumventing the existing restrictions, for example related to the billionaire Alisher Usmanov.

As announced in a statement by the Departments of State and Treasury, the new sanctions affect a total of more than 120 people and 29 entities registered in 25 countries.

Among them is controlled by Russia and the Budapest-based International Investment Bank (IIB) known as the “spy bank” with ties to Russian intelligence.

IBB Bank in BudapestIBB

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Entities associated with the oligarch Alisher Usmanov

“The IIB’s presence in Budapest enables Russia to increase its intelligence presence in Europe, opens the door to the Kremlin’s malign influence in Central Europe and the Western Balkans, and can serve as a mechanism for corruption and illicit finance, including sanctions violations,” the statement said. As the ministry added, Russia is trying to protect the bank from the threat of bankruptcy. Right after the Russian invasion in February 2022, they withdrew from the bank Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic and Slovakia. A large part of the remaining sanctions imposed on Wednesday concern an international network of collaborators, funds and entities associated with the oligarch Alisher Usmanov, who is close to the Kremlin, with the help of which he could potentially circumvent the restrictions imposed on him in March 2022. The list of sanctions includes persons and entities registered, e.g. in Cyprus, Switzerland, France, Liechtenstein, Uzbekistan and Slovakia.

Alisher UsmanovYURI KOCHETKOV/PAP/EPA

More sanctions: The US will continue to take action against Russia

In addition, sanctions were also imposed on a number of companies from China, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates that violated U.S. export restrictions on the sale of semiconductors to Russia and shipped Chinese drones to Russia for the use of the Russian war machine. The State Department sanctioned two Russian centers involved in the “militarization and indoctrination” of schoolchildren, including in Crimea, a new private military company, a Chinese company that supplies satellite images to the Wagner Group, and additional people associated with the Russian state-owned nuclear company Rosatom. “United States they will continue to take action against Russia and those who support it war in Ukraine” – announced the head of US diplomacy in a statement Anthony Blinkenthreatening “severe consequences” to entities from third countries that are involved in circumventing the restrictions.

Read also: “Russian spy bank” in Hungary in a critical situation

Main photo source: IBB



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