Goodfriend rejects claim that he broke law

History

In response to a group that said Charge d’Affairs André Goodfriend was breaking the law by not reporting information about a crime, the top American representative in this country told atv.hu today that, in line with the Vienna Treaty, as a foreign diplomat he is not bound by the laws of Hungary.

Civil Unity Forum (CÖF), a pro-government organization, yesterday said that Goodriend was committing a crime by not giving up information that he had about alleged corruption.

After press reports surfaced that Hungrians had been banned from the United States under a U.S. law that allows banning people who are suspected of corruption, there were calls for Goodfriend to reveal who those people were and detail the charges agains them. Goodfriend said in October that six Hungarians are affected by the entry ban to the United States on suspicion of corruption, and all six people are government employees or affiliated with the government. But he declined to give their names.

According to an October 18 press release from the U.S. Embassy: "Certain Hungarian individuals have been found ineligible to enter the United States as the result of credible information that those individuals are either engaging in or benefiting from corruption. This was a decision by the Department of State under the authority of Presidential Proclamation Number 7750 and its Anti-Kleptocracy Provision of January 12, 2004. Criminal proceedings are up to the host nation to pursue. U.S. privacy laws prohibit us from disclosing the names of the individuals involved."

Since then, government officials and others have been trying to get Goodfriend to reveal the names, but he refuses to do so.

Eventually Hungarian Tax Chief Ildikó Vida admitted that she is one of the people on the list, but she has proclaimed her innocence.

Anger over Vida's alleged corruption sparked a demonstration with roughly 10,000 participants, who said they would demonstrate again on Monday if Vida does not resign. The economy minister has already said that she will not resign.

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