U.S. Sanctions Budapest-based IIB
Image by iib.int
The United States has decided to levy sanctions on the Budapest-based International Investment Bank (IIB) and a number of its executives because of their ties to Russia, U.S. ambassador to Hungary David Pressman said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Among the executives is a Hungarian national, Imre Lászlóczki, who is the IIB's Hungarian VP.
The lender and its executives were among more than 50 entities and individuals sanctioned by the United States on Wednesday.
Pressman said the United States had registered its concerns with the Hungarian government over risks posed by the IIB's presence in Budapest "on numerous occasions" since the bank moved its HQ from Moscow to the Hungarian capital in 2019, but those concerns were "dismissed".
"The presence of this opaque Kremlin platform in the heart of Hungary threatens the security and sovereignty of the Hungarian people, their European neighbors, and their NATO Allies," he added.
Pressman also voiced concerns over the "continued eagerness of Hungarian leaders to expand and deepen ties" with Russia. "Close economic engagement with Russia feeds the Russian war machine," he added.
The ambassador acknowledged the "longstanding" relationship between the United States and Hungary and said the United States is "committed to a close and constructive relationship with Hungary", a "valued NATO Ally".
"We need to work together to address the serious issues we face," he added.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury said the IIB's presence in Budapest "enables Russia to increase its intelligence presence in Europe" and "could serve as a mechanism for corruption and illicit finance". The Department of the Treasury noted that Bulgaria, Czechia, Romania, and Slovakia ended their participation in the IIB after the start of the war in Ukraine.
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