Daily News Hungary

Budapest (MTI) – The government published on Thursday a document received from a US embassy employee in connection with the US entry ban affecting certain individuals. The document mainly lists corruption concerns raised by the embassy in recent years.

The document published on the government website kormany.hu is preceded by the foreign ministry’s remarks. The ministry notes that it had been delivered by a US diplomat on Nov. 6. The document which came without a dateline, signature or stamp includes no concrete information about the background of the entry ban despite the Hungarian government’s numerous requests for evidence in order to conclude an investigation on “the alleged corruption cases,” the ministry said.

At the same time, investigations are under way in connection with certain criminal cases revealed by the Hungarian authorities, it said. The government discussed a report on meetings between US embassy and government officials in recent years at its meeting on Thursday, it added.

Following are excerpts from the US document provided by the ministry:

“[The] embassy has had regular contact with [the Hungarian government] since at least February 2012 to discuss corruption concerns. Our requests for appropriate action yielded no results or official response. Information on corruption has also been available from investigative reporting, watchdog groups, and whistleblowers.”

“At a meeting with the Criminal Directorate of the Tax and Customs Office (NAV) [in Oct. 2013] specific concerns about agricultural VAT fraud and tobacco nationalization were raised. Concerns were dismissed by the NAV whose representatives offered no substantive response to questions.”

In December 2013, at a meeting with the NAV Criminal Directorate, “the embassy raised concerns of a US company that had expressed the same concerns to NAV and the Ministry of Economy since 2012. While acknowledging ‘extensive’ fraud, NAV deflected whistleblower Andras Horvath’s allegations.”

In January 2014, “at a meeting with the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration, the embassy raised concerns about agricultural VAT fraud, institutionalized corruption, whistleblower protections … Ministry officials directed the embassy to raise concern at Customs Office of NAV and Ministry of Interior/Police.”

In February 2014, at a meeting with NAV’s criminal directorate, the embassy “raised a US company’s concerns about VAT fraud. NAV officials said there had been no auditing complaints. Criminal Directorate said it was unable to act without auditing complaints.” The embassy notes that NAV’s specialised auditing unit investigating VAT fraud was disbanded in January 2013.

In June 2014, the embassy raised VAT fraud concerns with the foreign ministry “noting the issue is serious and, as corruption was suspected, action should be taken. The ministry “reportedly shared this information internally according to follow-up calls, but no further response” was taken.

“October 2014: The [charge d’affaires[ informed ministry of entry bans.”

The full document can be accessed at http://www.kormany.hu/download/5/4b/20000/SKMBT_C20314111317380.pdf

Source: http://mtva.hu/hu/hungary-matters

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