Vida files lawsuit over U.S. visa affair
Hungarian Tax and Customs Authority (NAV) chief Ildikó Vida, who is one of six Hungarians banned from entering the United States on suspected corruption, filed a deflamation lawsuit against U.S. Chargé d’Affaires André Goodfriend, Vida’s lawyer Barnabás Futó told Hungarian online portal index.hu.
Futó said that they are demanding compensation of HUF 5 mln for comments made by Goodfriend which have damaged the reputation not only of the tax chief but also NAV. Futó added that the lawsuit was based on Goodfriend's interview with Hungarian weekly Heti Válasz.
“We know of people cheating inside Hungary’s tax authority”, and yet there was no police investigation, Goodfriend told Heti Válasz on December 3. Yesterday Goodfriend said that if Vida files a lawsuit against him, he “can expect to appear in court”. However, as a diplomat, Goodfriend cannot be sued under the Treaty of Vienna.
Goodfriend revelead earlier that the only way Vida can enquire about the nature of her entry ban is to apply for a visa. "If an individual disputes the United States' decision to ban their entry, then they must resort to applying for a visa, and in this process, we can debate why we introduced the ban," he said.
Tensions have been growing between Hungary and the United States since mid October, when it was revealed that six Hungarians had been denied entry to the United States on suspicion of corruption. All six people are government employees or affiliated with the government, Goodfriend has said, but he refused to give details to Hungarian government entreaties, citing U.S. privacy laws. While he did not name the officials, Vida admitted that she is one of the people to whom Goodfriend is referring.
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