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Memo details U.S. corruption complaints

The Hungarian government this afternoon published a document containing a timeline of U.S. Embassy efforts to address corruption in Hungary. The timeline, which was reportedly sent from the embassy to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on November 6, describes U.S. complaints about corruption here as far back as February 2012.

The document notes that, in October 2013, the U.S. raised concerns to the Criminal Directorate of the Hungarian Tax and Customs Authority (NAV) in connection with the nationalization of tobacco sales. The document contains all the steps that the United States said it took in connection with the issue.

State secretary Levente Magyar presented the document to the journalists this afternoon. It is mostly in English and is available for download at the official website of the Hungarian government. Magyar said the document is “alleged evidence in connection with the corruption accusation issue”, however the “document lacked a date and a seal”. Magyar said that there is no information in the document that the Hungarian government could use as a basis for an investigation.

Tensions have been growing between Hungary and the United States since it was revealed last month that six Hungarians have been banned entry to the United States on suspicion of corruption. 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, but he has refused Hungarian government entreaties to give details, citing U.S. privacy laws. The Hungarian government says it cannot take action without more details, but Goodfriend said the Hungarian government has sufficient information to act.