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Court upholds fine for Napi Gazdaság MOL speculation

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A court ruling has upheld fines of HUF 3 million each levied on Napi Gazdaság Kiadó and news portal Napi.hu for “illegal manipulation of the market” by the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) in its role as financial market regulator in November. 

The decision may not be appealed.

On October 16, local business daily Napi Gazdaság via its website Napi.hu alleged that the Norway-based Oil Fund was considering selling its 1.6% stake in MOL due to rampant corruption in the Hungarian company. The ‘paper surmised that MOL was in violation of certain ethical guidelines for the Oil Fundas prescribed by the Norwegian Ministry of Finance – specifically regarding the conduct of chairman/CEO Zsolt Hernádi, who is still wanted in Croatia for questioning regarding his part in the bribery of the now-deposed and -convicted former prime minister Ivo Sanader. .

The immediate effect of the rumor was MOL stock dumping nearly 4.4% in value on the Budapest Stock Exchange in a single day of trading, taking down the BSE index 1.57%.

MNB took over the position of financial market supervisor from PSzÁF on October 1, when the latter was integrated into the central bank. The Napi.hu investigation and fine represented one of the first acts by the bank in the role.

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