Budapest, April 5 (MTI) – The Budapest Municipal Court of Appeal on Wednesday ordered a retrial of a case in which the defendant was found guilty of soliciting a bribe from a lobbyist for the local unit of US-based agribusiness Bunge.
The appeal court said the first-instance ruling was deficient in its weighing of the facts and had provided insufficient justification.
The defendant in the case had been charged with offering to forge a strategic partnership between Bunge and the government, lower the VAT rate on cooking oil and hold back the VAT refunds of Bunge’s competitors in exchange for 2 billion forints (EUR 6.45m).
The defendant was sentenced to two years in prison, which was suspended on probation for a period of three years. The prosecutor in the first-instant ruling noted that the severity of the sentencing was proportionate to the crime as it had tarnished Hungary’s international reputation and had provided grounds for the ban on travel to the United States placed on a number of Hungarian citizens.