The public prosecutor has asked Hungary’s foreign ministry to take steps to initiate the suspension of the diplomatic immunity of US chargé d’affaires André Goodfriend in connection with a complaint by tax authority chief Ildikó Vida.
The Hungarian ministry can request from the US State Department that it should lift the immunity of Goodfriend, who is sued by Vida for defamation.
Under Hungarian law, the investigation is suspended until the request regarding the diplomat’s immunity is reviewed and if the request is denied by the US side, the investigation will be closed, said a statement from the prosecutor’s office. Goodfriend said in an interview on 4 December that the US had information about fraudulent activities within the Hungarian tax authority, which have not been investigated. The diplomat also insisted that the US had evidence and had shared that information with the Hungarian government.
On Monday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations informed the state news agency MTI that Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó is to write a letter to the US State Department on the suspension of Mr. Goodfriend’s diplomatic immunity, citing chief prosecutor Péter Polt’s request of making the necessary measures to suspend the diplomatic immunity of the US chargé d’affaires.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that he expected Vida to sue Goodfriend after she was listed on the entry ban because it suggests she was personally involved in graft. On 11 December, Ms. Vida’s legal representative Barnabás Futó told MTI that the head of the tax authority has filed a lawsuit against the US embassy leader for libel at both the Central Investigative Office of the Prosecution and the Metropolitan Court of Budapest for his statements given during an interview to the 4 December edition of the weekly Heti Válasz.
via hungarymatters.hu and mandiner.hu
photo: origo.hu/Szabolcs Dudás