Hungary’s Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga (pictured) announced on Hungarian public radio today that he would not suspend beleaguered NAV president Ildikó Vida (pictured) despite calls from demonstrators and independent experts alike for her suspension pending an independent audit of the National Tax and Duty Authority.
Varga said the United States had accused NAV’s president of corruption without providing any proof. He called the temporary suspension of the right of six Hungarians, including top NAV officials, to travel to the United States on suspicion of corruption a “pretext”, adding that the matter was politically motivated and, in fact, had nothing to do with corruption.
He said the presumption of innocence applied to everyone and that the government of Hungary was still waiting for the US to justify the travel ban. He added that chief prosecutor Peter Polt had already formally requested proof of corruption from the United States, without result. “Somebody should say what the problem with the NAV president is,” said Varga. “Identify the reason for the travel ban and we will immediately launch an investigation.”
Varga might care to ask former tax auditor-turned-whistleblower András Horváth. Last year Horváth publicly claimed that he possessed documentary evidence of systematic tax fraud on the part of multi-national companies involving the complicity of high-ranking NAV officials. For his efforts, Horváth was charged with defamation and unlawful possession of documents, and had his flat raided by police, who seized the incriminating evidence.