Varga: Tax chief to stay in office

History

Ildikó Vida, head of the Tax and Customs Authority (NAV), will keep her post, despite being banned from the United States on suspicion of corruption, Economy Minister Mihály Varga told Hungarian public radio this morning. The interview apparently did not go into yesterday's demonstration against Vida.

The minister said that Vida was accused by the U.S. with no evidence, so her dismissal “would be the worst option”. Varga insisted that the entry ban was a cover for “some political motive” and echoed the government’s request for the reasons and evidence involving the ban. Should the U.S. indicate the details of the case against Vida, Hungary would start an investigation immediately, the minister said.

Surfacing after weeks out of the public eye, Vida, head of the national tax authority (NAV), admitted in an interview published last week that she is on the list of six Hungarians who were recently told they could not enter the U.S. because they are suspected of corruption. She denied any wrongdoing.

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, André Goodfriend, the charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest has said.

Yesterday, protesters in Budapest demanded the removal of NAV leaders associated with U.S. charges of corruption. The demonstration was apparently not discussed in Varga's radio interview.

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