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Tax authority chief sues US Chargé d’Affaires

December 13th, 2014

A conservative columnist welcomes Ildikó Vida’s libel lawsuit against André Goodfriend. A left-wing pundit considers the ongoing Hungarian-US skirmishes harmful.

PM Orbán told Parliament on Monday that he would dismiss Ildikó Vida, the President of the Tax Authority unless she sues US Chargé d’Affairs André Goodfriend. The Prime Minister said that he interpreted Mr Goodfriend’s latest interview with Heti Válasz as tantamount to accusing Ms Vida of corruption. She is the only one of the six Hungarian personalities banned from entering the US on suspicion of corruption whose identity is known (see BudaPost through October 20). On Thursday, Ildikó Vida filed a defamation suit against the US Chargé d’Affaires, pending the waiver of Mr Goodfriend’s diplomatic immunity by the US State Department.

In Magyar Hírlap, Gábor Mező welcomes Vida’s decision to sue the top US diplomat in Budapest for libel.  If André Goodfriend waives his diplomatic immunity, litigation will help to clarify whether or not his accusations can be substantiated, the conservative commentator suggests. In a remark about corruption in Hungary, Mező points out that Transparency International’s latest global corruption index ranks Hungary 47th out of 175 nations, while in 2009 it was the 46th. In other words, Mező concludes, there has not been any significant change in the volume of corruption in Hungary over the past five years.

This is just crazy,” János Szirtes comments bluntly in Népszabadság. The left-wing analyst wonders what the government hopes to achieve in the diplomatic battle with the US. Szirtes finds it unlikely that André Goodfriend will waive his diplomatic immunity. He fears that the Hungarian government may even be considering expelling André Goodfriend, which would exponentially increase the tension between the two countries. Budapest can only lose in this diplomatic skirmish, “since the US can do a lot of harm to Hungary,” Szirtes believes.

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