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Authorities Should Investigate the VAT Fraud Scandal Instead of Pestering András Horváth!

Authorities Should Investigate the VAT Fraud Scandal Instead of Pestering András Horváth!

Transparency International Hungary (TI) was shocked to learn that the Hungarian Police launched an investigation less than one week following privacy and secrecy charges raised by the National Tax and Customs Administration of Hungary (“NAV”) against whistleblower András Horváth, and coerced him to hand over evidence and IT documents later seized by the law-enforcement.

Until Mr Horváth is proven to have untruly claimed NAV’s involvement in the VAT fraud, he should be treated and protected as a whistleblower. The authorities, instead, are intimidating him by raising charges against him and create a hostile environment around him. The NAV, trying to prove its ex-employee’s incompetence, is simply tarnishing Mr Horváth’s reputation, claiming that he has always been a mediocre civil servant largely incapable to deal with complex tax cases. A question of answers why they hired him if Mr Horvath was so inapt.

Apparently, rather than investigating corruption, authorities find it much more comfortable to investigate privacy and secrecy charges against Mr Horvath, scrutinizing how he got hold of the data and documents which, according to him, prove that the NAV overlooks scandalous cases of VAT fraud. Public interest, however, demands exactly the opposite.

The attitude shown while dealing with the NAV-case places the government’s anti-corruption endeavours into doubt. Even the new law on whistleblower protection that is expected to enter into effect 1 January seems to follow a tick-box approach. TI heavily criticised the legislation, saying that a stand-alone law to protect those who expose wrongdoing does not suffice if the government fails to effectively protect whistle-blowers.

We hereby invite the government to thoroughly investigate the NAV corruption scandal instead of examining charges brought against Mr Horváth.

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