Malta seizes $1.1bn worth of “counterfeit” Libyan dinars printed by Russian state-owned company

Ben Aris in Berlin June 1, 2020

The US State Department has announced that Malta seized $1.1bn worth of “counterfeit” Libyan dinars that were travelling by ship to the Libyan parallel government and were printed by the Russian state-owned company Goznak.

Ukraine's President Zelenskiy declares $1mn income in 2019

bne IntelliNews June 1, 2020

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had charges of hypocrisy levelled at him after he declared an income of UAH28mn ($1mn) in his official tax return for 2019, reported on May 30.

Customs officials confiscate 70 tonnes of fine cheese smuggled into Russia from the EU

bne IntelliNews May 31, 2020

Russian authorities confiscated 70 tonnes of fine European cheeses smuggled into the country in a container and mislabelled as industrial rubber for use in the construction industry.

Trump postpones G7 summit in US, invites Russia to attend

bne IntelliNews May 31, 2020

US President Donald Trump has postponed a planned G7 summit slated to happen in June, but has invited Russia to attend the rescheduled meeting in September in New York.

Bosnian Federation’s prime minister detained over import of useless ventilators from China

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia May 29, 2020

Fadil Novalic was arrested over the ventilators imported by a fruit processing firm with no medical experience. His party called the move a well planned “coup” intended to harm his credibility.

Turkish Treasury taps $3bn from domestic paper sales to local banks ahead of eurobond redemption

Akin Nazli in Belgrade May 29, 2020

Turkey’s state banks sold around $44bn of hard currency in first four months of this year and $77bn since start of 2019 to support embattled lira, analyst’s calculations indicate. May expected to bring 2020 sales to $50bn+.

Hungary’s Wizz Air uses crisis to aggressively take on competition by expanding to new routes

Tamas Szilagyi in Budapest May 29, 2020

Wizz Air has opened four new bases in the last couple of days, taking on the sector’s heavyweights such as Ryanair and Easyjet.

Russia's Sberbank opens a commodity trading subsidiary in Zug in Switzerland

bne IntelliNews May 29, 2020

Sber Trading Swiss AG based in Zug, Switzerland, will become the main hub of Sberbank's international physical commodity trading business

Trump Towers Istanbul partner ‘lobbied White House for vast expansion of US-Turkey trade’

bne IntelIiNews May 29, 2020

News service uses documents deposited by PR firm to reveal Mehmet Ali Yalcindag’s activities. Now head of Turkey-US Business Council, the businessman, once called a “close friend” by Donald Trump, is pushing to build up agriculture and LNG shipments.

Belarus emerges as Eastern Europe's coronavirus hotspot

bne IntelliNews May 29, 2020

Belarus is one of the five European countries most affected by coronavirus

Czech utility CEZ to expand nuclear plant with state support

bne IntelliNews May 28, 2020

New block at the Dukovany nuclear power plant is expected to come online in 2036.

US pulls waivers on civilian nuclear cooperation with Iran

bne IntelIiNews May 28, 2020

Move means Washington has scrapped last remnants of 2015 nuclear deal that it was tolerating. Tehran says move is “desperate” and designed to distract from the failure of the Trump administration’s policy on the Islamic Republic.

Bulgarian police arrest deputy minister over illegal waste imports

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia May 28, 2020

Illegal waste imports from the Italian mafia were delivered to Bulgaria, reportedly to be burned in local power plants.

New Iranian parliament under sway of “principlists” elects ex-Guards commander as speaker

bne IntelIiNews May 28, 2020

Some critics see the 58-year-old as renowned for "changing direction and sides with the wind". New composition of lawmakers could block programme of moderate, pragmatic president Rouhani.

For first time Turkey’s LNG imports outstrip pipeline gas imports

bne IntelIiNews May 28, 2020

Gas delivered via pipelines from Russia and Iran down 72% y/y and 33% y/y in March. US expanding shipments of liquefied natural gas amid glut as spot prices fall.

A third of Russians believe that the danger of the coronavirus epidemic is exaggerated or a fiction

bne IntelliNews May 28, 2020

A third of Russians (32.8%) believe that the danger of the coronavirus epidemic is exaggerated, or they consider it to be an invention of interested parties, according to a study conducted by the Higher School of Economics (HSE).

Poland announces major easing of coronavirus restrictions

Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw May 27, 2020

PM Mateusz Morawiecki says Poland has controlled the pandemic much more effectively than some of the world's richest countries, as he relaxes restrictions on shops, restaurants and public gatherings.

Tajikistan: Arrests spark fresh unrest in Pamirs

Eurasianet May 27, 2020

Government troops are rumoured to have been dispatched to quell the trouble.

Obtained records ‘show Azerbaijan foreign minister’s son bought lavish Trump Place apartments in Manhattan’

bne IntelIiNews May 27, 2020

Report says “it is not clear how” young Emin Mammadyarov could pay huge sums for luxury units.

Romania to break nuke plant expansion agreement with Chinese partner

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest May 27, 2020

State-controlled nuclear energy producer Nuclearelectrica will begin talks to terminate the agreement signed with China's CGN on the construction of two new reactors at the Cernavoda.