“This is what a whistleblower’s honesty is worth in Hungary”

January 20, 2017

Former National Tax and Customs Administration (NAV) tax inspector András Horváth was questioned by authorities for two hours on Thursday on suspicion of improperly accessing tax information connected to his 2013 allegations of fraud and other abuses within the tax authority, reports 24.hu. Horváth denied any wrongdoing, calling the questioning a “political circus.”

“HUNGARY 2017. THE CRIMINAL, CORRUPT POLITICIANS ARE LIVING IT UP – THEY SEND THE EXPOSERS OF THEIR CRIMES TO JAIL?” Horváth posted on his Facebook page after he was called for questioning. “The Orbán-Pintér-Polt trio have taken a new step into uninhibited nastiness. They already searched my house three years ago, that’s when the investigation started. This is that case. They were just waiting for the international situation to be suitable to take this filthy step. They accuse me of unlawfully asking for data from the NAV system, which is of course an outright lie,” he wrote (referring to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Minister of the Interior Sándor Pintér and Chief Prosecutor of Hungary Péter Polt).

Horváth maintains that he acted within his lawful competence in requesting tax information on businesses he suspected of fraud.

He became notable as a whistleblower after he went public with his “green dossier” in November 2013, which he claimed contained proof that NAV turned a blind eye to billions of forints in tax fraud perpetrated by some of Hungary’s largest companies. He publicly accused NAV of both prematurely shutting down tax audits and failing to assess tax arrears and related fines and penalties, particularly in the case of companies illegally claiming back value added tax (VAT). He quit his job and was later sued by NAV for damaging its reputation. A three-year investigation that concluded in December found only one case of criminal wrongdoing.

A lawyer with the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ) accompanied Horváth to the questioning Thursday and later published a video in which Horváth described the proceeding as “tragicomic.” He said investigators spent around two hours reading aloud data related to 300 companies he allegedly requested unlawfully.

“Knowing the exact times of the requests (this is the ultimate in the nonplus of NAV’s position) the question still remains: WHAT IN THE HELL DO THEY SUSPECT ME OF DOING? I really have no idea,” he wrote on Facebook after the questioning. “I refused to testify today, but only so I would be able to testify based on knowing exactly what the other side alleges, and what they are basing this stupidity on. THIS IS WHAT A WHISTLEBLOWER’S HONESTY IS WORTH IN HUNGARY.”