Hungary is threatening to block the extension of EU sanctions against Russian oligarchs unless Alisher Usmanov, Petr Aven and Viktor Rashnikov are removed from the list. This is reported by Radio Liberty, citing diplomatic sources. Budapest is also asking for an exemption for humanitarian organizations to do business with some of the Russian banks that are currently under sanctions.
According to them, Budapest wants to remove three oligarchs from the list of visa regime and asset freeze before the upcoming extension of European sanctions for another six months. The issue of the extension will be discussed on September 7, the deadline is September 15. The list consists of 1217 individuals and 108 organizations. Usmanov and Aven were added to it in February, Rashnikov in March. The sanctions against Usmanov led to the confiscation of the world's largest yacht, worth $600 million, linked to the oligarch, who unsuccessfully appealed the measures to the European Court of Justice.
According to the publication, Brussels assumes that with such requirements Budapest wants to force the EU to approve the allocation of funds to Hungary, which was suspended due to the weakening of democracy in the country.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his government have clashed with the EU several times in recent years over corruption, LGBT rights, migrants and democratic standards. Orban criticized the EU's position towards Moscow. In his opinion, the sanctions harmed the bloc without weakening Russia or helping Ukraine.
In 2017, The Insider found out that one of the reasons for loyalty may be compromising video on Orban, obtained by crime boss Semyon Mogilevich in the mid-90s.