Budapest, February 24 (MTI) – The National Bank of Hungary (NBH) as supervisory authority has suspended with immediate effect the operating licence of brokerage firm Buda-Cash Brokerhaz and appointed supervisory commissioners because of suspicious cases that have come to its knowledge, the NBH said on Tuesday.
The NBH added that it had also filed on Monday a criminal complaint with police over the matter.
The statement said the supervisory commissioners have taken over the management of the company on Tuesday.
The NBH suspects that what it has discovered in a comprehensive audit of Buda-Cash Brokerhaz is a series of abuses going back several decades, NBH deputy president Laszlo Windisch said at a press conference in Budapest on Tuesday.
The suspicion is that the brokerage firm has falsified all of its reports over the past ten years and is unable to account for substantial client funds. The damage can amount to about 100 billion forints (EUR 327m), he said.
The central bank has also put restrictions in place at the four banks belonging to the DRB bank group, which are closely related to Buda-Cash through their ownership. The NBH has placed a 1 million forints ceiling on deposit payment and appointed supervisory commissioners at the four banks.
Windisch said the sudden January increase of the Swiss franc exchange rate is not directly related to the shortcomings found at the brokerage firm although the exchange rate change caused losses worth about 10 billion forints to the company’s clients.
He said he was as yet unable to provide more accurate data considering the investigation and the ongoing supervisory procedure.
Combined total assets of the four banks was 180 billion forints at the end of 2013. The DRB bank group had 118 million forints losses in 2013.
Windisch said about 15,000-20,000 clients could be affected at Buda-Cash Brokerhaz and about 100,000-120,000 clients at the DRB bank group, who can expect to receive compensation. He said the NBH’s Financial Stability Council believes that National Deposit Insurance Fund (OBA) and the Investor Protection Fund (BEVA) will be able to satisfy the claims.