Ukraine labels EU bank ‘sponsor of war’

Ukraine’s anti-corruption agency has designated Hungarian OTP Bank a “sponsor of war” for continuing to operate in Russia

Ukraine labels EU bank ‘sponsor of war’

Ukraine labels EU bank ‘sponsor of war’

Kiev claims Hungary’s largest lender is reluctant to leave Russia

The Ukrainian National Corruption Prevention Agency (NCPA) has designated Hungary’s OTP Bank an “international sponsor of war” due to the preferential lending terms the bank was allegedly providing to the Russian military, the agency claimed on Thursday.

According to the watchdog, the Hungarian lender continues to operate in Russia and “serves more than 2.2 million customers and is represented in more than 1,850 settlements”.

OTP, which is Hungary’s largest commercial bank and Central Europe’s largest independent lender, is also one of the 50 biggest banks in Russia, according to the NCPA.

Kiev’s anti-corruption agency has accused the lender of providing “preferential lending conditions to [members of] the Russian military,” including deferred payments on loans.

According to NCPA’s press release, OTP Bank is the 24th institution that the agency has designated an “international sponsor of war.” 

Last year, OTP said it was winding down corporate lending in Russia in compliance with international sanctions and was also considering a possible withdrawal from the Russian market.

In 2021, OTP’s Russian and Ukrainian businesses accounted for 15.8% of its consolidated net profit, according to the lender’s data.

Ukraine’s central bank earlier accused several European banking groups of being reluctant to exit Russia. In March, the regulator’s spokesperson claimed that some EU lenders, including OTP, were still developing their business in the sanctioned country.