Eastern Europe and Eurasia
Money Laundering Scandals Plague Baltic States
Estonian financial regulators have launched
an investigation into illegal money laundering activity in the country's branch of Denmark-based Danske Bank. The money laundering schemes have been linked to members of the Russian, Azerbaijani, and Moldovan political and intelligence elite.
In other financial news, ABLV, Latvia's third-largest bank, will close down
. This development occurred in light of allegations of money laundering by the U.S. Treasury and a subsequent run of depositors on the bank.
A Swedish tribunal ruled
in favor of Naftogaz in a long-running dispute with Russia's Gazprom, awarding the Ukrainian state gas company $4.63 billion in damages. The tribunal found that Gazprom had defaulted on its supply obligations.
Gazprom has stated they will appeal the ruling, and has decided to withhold gas from Ukraine this month.
Fidesz, Hungary's ruling party, suffered a surprising loss
in a local election in a former Fidesz stronghold. Independent candidate Peter Marki-Zay won the closely-watched Hodmezovasarhely mayoral race by a 16% margin, with turnout reaching an unprecedented 62%. This upset comes a little over a month before April's highly-anticipated parliamentary elections.
Poland has postponed
a debate on establishing a Remembrance Day to commemorate Poles who sheltered Jews during World War II. Opposition parliamentarians cite the unfortunate timing of the debate, coming so soon after international backlash over the recently passed "Holocaust law," which restricts negative portrayals of Poland's role in the Second World War.