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MNB boss under fire 5 days before leaving

February 27th, 2013

A pro-government daily accuses Simor, the outgoing President of the Hungarian National Bank (MNB) of servility because he passed on confidential information about Hungarian commercial banks to the IMF and finds it outraging that Simor denies ever having ordered the report to the IMF.

Zsuzsa Vajda Nagy believes Simor ’must have had a bad day’ at the parliamentary hearing concerning the IMF-documents because he raised his voice to argue with the members of the inquiring committee. And all this anger – continues the author in her Magyar Nemzet editorial – simply because the Hungarian Audit Office (ÁSZF), an independent regulatory body, was daring enough to look into the books. Simor did not deny that between 2008 and 2010 the MNB provided information to the IMF about seven banks operating in Hungary, without their consent. By doing so, Vajda Nagy asserts, Mr Simor, exposed Hungary and endangered her national interests, quite beyond the simple fact that providing information of this kind is illegal in Hungary. She dismisses Simor’s argument that providing information was a duty and served Hungary’s interest, as the IMF wanted to be sure that its loan channelled to the banks was still in Hungary. Only two of the commercial banks received IMF funds – OTP and FHB – but what about the others? No answer was forthcoming at the hearing, and Simor even denied having given a specific order to that effect, claiming it was business as usual, the only mistake being made that a clerk forgot to have the documents authorized by the banks in question. But the issue is not about some forgotten signatures: it is about the spirit in which the National Bank has been governed by its president – Vajda Nagy concludes.

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