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MNB chief under fire to sell Cyprus firm

Hungary's central bank governor told parliament he would sell his Cypriot-registered company and transfer the proceeds to Hungary after coming under fire from the opposition over his foreign investments.

Hungary's main opposition party Fidesz, which scored a landslide victory at European elections on Sunday, called on the governor, András Simor, and the prime minister last week to resign, accusing them of tax evasion, an allegation both men have denied.

Simor told parliament on Monday that recent attacks against him could indirectly pose a threat to the credibility of the independent central bank.

“I have understood the opinion of those who argue that public figures, including the central bank governor, should be subject to stricter rules of conduct,” Simor added.

“Therefore, I will sell the investments in the company as soon as circumstances allow and then terminate the company and transfer the proceeds home.”

Simor first came under scrutiny last week when leading local newspapers reported that his disclosure of personal assets showed a big drop in his investments and did not explain where he had moved the funds.

The central bank said last week that Simor put his savings into Cypriot-registered Trevisol Management Services Ltd., which he fully owns.

“In contrast to (statements) published in the press, the reality is that the source of my foreign savings are my activities pursued abroad prior to my nomination for central bank governor as well as the returns on my investments outside Hungary,” Simor said.

He said he had never hidden his money overseas.

Simor also said that in future he would include further details in his declaration of wealth beyond those required by law.

If Fidesz wins next year's parliamentary election, as opinion polls now suggest, it will need to cooperate with Simor, whose mandate expires in 2013. (Reuters)