Hungarian opposition party files complaint against central bank

By bne IntelliNews June 20, 2016

The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) has filed a complaint with the prosectuor's office against the central bank for fraud, misappropriation of public funds and abuse of handling public data, local press reported on June 20.

The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) suggests that PADA, one of the six foundations run by the Magyar Nemzeti Bank (MNB), manipulated documents about its spending, adding yet again to the ongoing scandal around the MNB's use of public money. Critics, however, point to the lack of independence of the prosecutor’s office claiming it will hinder any investigation.

Following a Constitutional Court ruling that blocked the government's attempt earlier this year to remove the foundations’ spending from public scrutiny, it was revealed that they spent around HUF20bn without announcing public procurement. The foundations received HUF245bn (€790mn) in 2014 from the MNB, officially to promote financial literacy and conduct economic research. Further than that, a significant amount of funds were granted to people close to MNB Governor Gyorgy Matolcsy and other allies of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

MSZP points out irregularities in documents regarding PADA's spending that were released following the court decision. The party claims that some contain copy-pasted images instead of original signatures, and that others appear to have been backdated or manipulated in other ways.

However the prosecutor’s office has repeatedly rejected calls to launch a criminal investigation against MNB for misappropriation of public funds. Critics claim that the office lacks independence, noting that the chief prosecutor’s wife serves as head of human resources at MNB and is also president of the board of trustees at PADA.

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