'Under 10' Hungarians banned from the U.S. for corruption

October 18, 2014

The United States has banned several Hungarians suspected of corruption, including people connected to the government, from entering its territory. Analysts believe the U.S. is angered by Hungarians seeking financial gains at US companies through corruption related to public procurement cases.

After the news surfaced, the chargé d'affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Budapest, André Goodfriend was summoned to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry and Trade for a meeting on the issue. The Ministry said it asked the United States to hand over any information about suspected cases of corruption so they could be investigated.

"We have advised the people involved not to travel to the US as they wouldn't be permitted entry," Goodfriend told the press. He added that Hungarian individuals "were or are either engaging in or benefitting from corruption" and that "these individuals, government officials or former government officials, or persons connected with such officials, are barred from entering the U.S."

In the meantime, the website of the business daily Napi Gazdaság, recently bought up by people close to the government, claimed the travel bans had been issued as a revenge for the Hungarian tax authority (NAV) investigating American companies in Hungary.

Most analysts are of the view, however, that the American side is angered by several cases in which Hungary-based U.S. companies applying for EU funds were approached by Hungarians suggesting that - in exchange for financial gains - they would 'arrange' the matter.

The U.S. Embassy has issued a statement saying that it "is not aware of any NAV investigations into US businesses or institutions in Hungary and no U.S. actions have been taken as the result of any such investigations."


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