Court terminates criminal case against Lázár

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The Budapest Municipal Court has terminated a criminal suit filed against János Lázár, the state secretary in charge of the Prime Minister's Office, in the absence of any wrongdoing. OTP Bank chairman/CEO Sándor Csányi filed the suit in August, after Lazar called the banker the country's “no. 1 usurer.” 

Although Lázár's words were in principle suitable to defame and hurt human dignity, the criticism of Csányi was within the boundaries of that acceptable for a man of his public status, the court said. Lázár made the comment about Csányi after the CEO made remarks concerning Lázár's handling of the introduction of the state monopoly on retail tobacco sales.

Csányi said at the time that Lázár was one of “one or two” people in the government who had made comments critical of his person or the bank, adding that this was not any great source of agitation: “I don't know Lazar very well personally, but he is a very talented politician. Just look at how well he organized the [state monopoly on retail tobacco sales],” Csányi said at the time, speaking to journalists after parting with a big part of his personal stake in OTP Bank.

Lázár has come under fire for drafting legislation that raised the retail margin on tobacco sales after concessions for the trade were awarded.

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