Central bank initiates police procedure against journalist

Deals

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Claiming a violation of business secrecy rules, the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) is reported to have initiated a police procedure against Gergely Brückner, a journalist of Hungarian weekly Figyelő, for a series of articles he wrote on the topic of the Hungarian state buying MKB Bank and then selling it on to a consortium of buyers, according to Hungarian online news portal index.hu. 

Index.hu reported this morning that Brückner was interviewed at the Budapest Police Headquarters (BRFK), where authorities asked him to reveal the sources of information he used for his articles. The journalist reportedly declined to reveal his sources, citing his privilege as a journalist pertaining to the confidentiality of sources.

Index.hu says the authorities were interested in one particular letter reportedly sent by MNB Governor György Matolcsy to Cabinet Chief János Lázár, allegedly saying that MKB was in bad financial shape and needed a capital injection of HUF 75 billion and HUF 200 bln later, as reported earlier by Figyelő. Without mentioning figures, index.hu reports the restructuring could have represented a major cost to Hungarian taxpayers.

In the series of articles, Figyelő reported that MKB Bank was making HUF 400-500 million losses on a daily basis, Hungarian daily 444.hu reported today, while the government said buying the bank for HUF 17 bln was a good deal.

The central bank has not issued an announcement in relation to the matter, according to reports.

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