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Hungary in breach of EU money laundering law?

The so-called “stability savings account” meant to bring home wealth stored in offshore accounts and also to lure savings from other sources abroad may be in violation of the European Union’s laws against money laundering, a legal expert told political weekly Figyelő.

Dániel Deák, head of the Corvinus University economics department, stressed that the tool allows complete anonymity for depositing wealth in Hungary, meaning there are no requirements for a paper trail or verifying whether the sums have legal origins.

The European Union will likely take action in the matter, he added.

Hungary was among those countries appearing on the blacklist issued by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in 2001, but was removed the following year when the country passed a national anti-money laundering law. When the first FATF “gray list” was released in 2008, however, Hungary was included.

According the US State Department, “Authorities believe money laundering cases [in Hungary] mostly stem from financial and economic crimes such as tax-related crimes, fraud, embezzlement, misappropriation of funds, and social security fraud.”

As of 2011, the National Tax and Customs Office (NAV) estimated money laundering in Hungary to represent $15 billion per year.

– Material by Gergő Rácz was used in this story