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U.S. Blacklists Hungarian Officials

Tamás Székely 2014.10.18.

American journals, including bloomberg.com have reported that the U.S. administration imposed travel bans on Hungarian officials and other individuals suspected of corruption. The surprising decision is expected to raise tensions with PM Viktor Orbán’s government.

The list contains fewer than 10 people, Andre Goodfriend, the U.S. Charge d’Affaires in Hungary, told reporters in Budapest today. He declined to provide names, citing privacy laws. The Hungarian government summoned Goodfriend to ask the U.S. to share its information about corrupt individuals, Judit Fülöp, a spokeswoman at the Foreign Ministry, said on the ministry’s website. The U.S. won’t share its evidence, which is “confidential” and Hungarian authorities are aware of the issue, Goodfriend said.  “We always base our decisions on solid evidence,” Goodfriend said. Companies doing business in Hungary lack a “non-corrupt environment.”

Diplomatic clashes between the U.S. and Hungary have become more frequent since Viktor Orbán’s government came to power in 2010 and embarked on consolidating its power. The Hungarian government, re-elected in April, has been openly criticized even by Barack Obama. In one of his speech the U.S. President cited Hungary among countries where non-government organizations are under pressure. The Orbán cabinet is investigating Hungarian NGOs funded by Norway, suspecting them of diverting money to an opposition party, a claim the organizations have denied.

via bloomberg.com photo: Andre Goodfriend (source: valasz.hu)


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