Hungarian opposition calls on Constitutional Court to rule on legality of Russian investment bank

Hungarian opposition party LMP has asked the country’s Constitutional Court to rule on the legality of the International Investment Bank’s (IIB) plans to move its headquarters in Budapest.

According to MP Márta Demeter, the agreement signed between the government and the Moscow-based IIB is unconstitutional and poses a risk to national security and Hungary’s sovereignty.

“Neither the financial or other regulatory authorities nor the police are permitted to set foot in the institution,” Mrs Demeter said. “While the clients of Hungarian banks access their accounts only after complying with stricter rules on identifying account ownership, the IIB is exempt from complying with Hungarian laws.”

The Russian bank will receive full diplomatic privileges from the Hungarian government. It will be exempt from any financial investigations, registration with the authorities, reporting standards, taxes, duties, export-import restrictions and all legal procedures carried out by the Hungarian judiciary except where the bank had waived its immunity. Costs related to the bank’s premises, rent and security will be covered by the Hungarian taxpayer.

There is growing unease across emerging Europe at the revival of the IIB, created in 1970 with the objective of fostering trade and economic cooperation within the Soviet Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon).