Budapest, December 18 (MTI) – Budapest’s chief prosecutor has raised charges against a suspect, referred to as V.T., who is believed to have solicited a bribe from US cooking oil producer Bunge offering help to change Hungarian VAT legislation, the chief prosecutor told a press conference on Friday.
Tibor Ibolya said that the suspect known as V.T. had claimed to know Peter Heim, head of Szazadveg, a think-tank close to the government. He asked for 2 billion forints (EUR 6.4m) in return for using his connections to lobby for a reduction of VAT on cooking oil from 27 to 5 percent.
Bunge immediately broke off ties with the suspect who was then banned from entering the US. He added that no connection had been established between the suspect and the Szazadveg chief.
Szazadveg said in a statement that the municipal prosecutor had cleared the think-tank of any involvement in the case. Marketing and communications director Peter Keresztesi said “it has been proven” that the suspect illegitimately referred to Szazadveg. Keresztesi added that Szazadveg would sue any media suggesting the group’s involvement in the case.
Last autumn, the US government similarly banned Hungarian officials under charges of major corruption, including then tax authority NAV chief Ildiko Vida.