National security committee summoned for Thursday

A meeting of parliament’s national security committee has been called by the body’s chairman, Zsolt Molnar, of the opposition Socialists.

Citing a suspected case of money laundering reported in the media connected with an FBI investigation against a Hungarian citizen, as well as the case of a Russian diplomat expelled from Hungary, Molnar said on Tuesday that several issues had emerged in the past few days that needed further investigation.

On Thursday, the national security committee will request briefing on these issues from representatives of the national security services, other law-enforcement authorities and government members, Molnar said.

On Monday, an official of Hungary’s radical nationalist Jobbik party accused the government of large-scale corruption, citing reports that a Hungarian man was in a United States witness protection programme, accused of laundering money linked to the Hungarian government.

MKB Bank said on Tuesday that it was suing daily Magyar Nemzet for libel after the paper stated in an article on Monday that MKB had been involved in transferring handouts to ruling party politicians paid after the winning of European Union tenders.

The paper reported that the FBI suspected cash withdrawals involving a few million euros each were made, usually from MKB and occasionally from other banks run by the Hungarian state. According to Magyar Nemzet, a total of 3-4 billion euros disappeared from Hungary.

MKB Bank said Magyar Nemzet’s report constituted “baseless slander” that severely harmed the bank’s reputation. Over the past three years, a total of 18 billion forints (EUR 58m) has been withdrawn from MKB branches, mostly by institutional clients in transactions exceeding 250,000 euros, thereby meeting the European Union’s Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive aimed at preventing money laundering and terrorism financing, MKB said.

Deputies of the ruling Fidesz-Christian Democrat alliance will not attend the meeting, the Fidesz group said in a statement, adding that they considered the initiative as part of the opposition’s election campaign.

The ruling parties will not “provide assistance to a campaign move”, they said in their statement. Signatories to the document also repeated their earlier protest against LMP’s Bernadett Szel being on the committee, who, as they insisted, “belongs to the Soros network”.

Source and photo: MTI

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