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Scandal-Hit Tax Chief May Be Fired, Hungarian Economy Minister Hints In Interview

Tamás Székely 2015.07.09.

Changes in the management of Hungary’s tax authority NAV “may be necessary” after the way the US entry ban against senior Hungarian officials was handled last year, the Economy Minister said in an interview. Last year’s scandal and the government’s response to it has weakened NAV’s current leadership and public trust in the organisation, Mihály Varga told business weekly Figyelő.

The Economy Ministry is planning changes to make the tax authority’s operations more efficient, he added. Concerning NAV chief Ildikó Vida, who was among the six officials barred from entering the US on corruption charges, Varga said that “she will stay in her post as long as there is mutual trust” between her and her employer. He added that the head of the tax authority is appointed by the Prime Minister. Varga said he was planning to replace several officials in his ministry and has set up a separate state secretariat for taxation— an area currently part of the general finance department.

Later the Cabinet Chief also confirmed that the government plans changes in the management of NAV. The current managing structure of NAV was designed for the current Hungarian taxation procedure. Since the Primer Minister plans significant changes at the tax authority, the mentality should change as well, therefore the current management will not have major role in the new era at NAV, János Lázár told reporters at his regular Thursday afternoon press briefing. However, Lázár refused to disclose any further details on the matter.

On another subject, Mihály Varga said in the above-mentioned interview that the Hungarian state would sell its recently acquired stakes in MKB and Budapest Bank within a year rather than in three years, as earlier planned, with preference given to Hungarian investors.

via and photo: Lajos Soós – MTI