Budapest (MTI) – An investigation of an unknown perpetrator suspected of embezzling funds has been launched in the case of Buda-Cash, a lawyer for the brokerage’s chief executive said on commercial television on Saturday.
Janos Banati, the lawyer for Buda-Cash CEO Peter Tolgyesi, told HirTV that Buda-Cash’s management had not fled the country, but were present in Hungary and available for the authorities. The police have still not questioned the management, he added.
The National Bank of Hungary on Tuesday said it withdrew the licence of Buda-Cash and reported suspected criminal activity to the police. The NBH also put a limit on withdrawals at members of the DRB Bank group, which has ownership ties to Buda-Cash.
Banati said his client had asked to speak with the central bank’s heads before a raid on Monday and informed them that some 100 billion forints (EUR 330m) had gone missing among a “familiar” circle of people.
He said the police had conducted searches and seized evidence, and that Buda-Cash’s management had been officially informed of this.
Meanwhile, the opposition Socialists demanded that the independence of financial watchdog PSZAF should be restored. Socialist MP Istvan Jozsa told a press conference that under legislation passed by the ruling parties PSZAF had been “swept into” the National Bank. In addition, he said, the central bank will not allow access to its activities as a watchdog, using its independence as an excuse.
Jozsa called for online supervision and a transparent watchdog reporting to both parliament and the government. He also suggested that banks should undergo a full screening each year.
Radical nationalist Jobbik urged an “immediate and comprehensive” investigation. Speaking before the press, Jobbik MP Eniko Hegedus called it “childish” of the government to say the abuse had not been revealed because banks undergo a full screening only once every five years.
In reaction to Jozsa’s remarks, Fidesz said in a statement that the suspected fraud goes back many years, still, under the Socialist governments, the then independent PSZAF found no problem. The central bank, however, detected the fraud during its first check, the party said in a statement.