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Panama papers stir political debate

April 12th, 2016

Magyar Nemzet hails David Cameron as an example and calls on Fidesz to come clean on offshore companies, while the pro government media suspect shady intentions behind the Panama Papers.

David Cameron’s decision to make his tax records public shows what a real conservative party is like, Magyar Nemzet suggests in its editorial. The author, Richárd Szilágyi, calls for the governing parties to act in a similar manner, and reminds them that Fidesz-KDNP used to champion the fight against ‘offshore knights’ in the past. The author criticises Fidesz for not supporting Jobbik’s initiative to invite  MPs to publicly declare their possible involvement in such companies.

Fidesz rejected the idea on the grounds that MPs are already obliged to make yearly public asset declarations. Direkt36, a team of Hungarian journalists that cooperates with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists on the Panama Papers, has so far produced only two high profile Hungarian names that can be linked to the international scandal. Both Zsolt Horváth, a former Fidesz MP, and László Boldvai, who used to serve as the MSZP’s treasurer (See BudaPost, April 6th 2016) are both somewhat past their political prime. András Pethő, leading journalist of Direkt36 told Magyar Nemzet Online last Thursday that they may not be able to come up with the names of further Hungarian politicians, which suggests that the higher echelons of Hungarian politics will probably not be affected by later revelations.

Offshore companies are in fact the business of the more stupid among the rich of the world, Tutiblog, an opinion column on pro-government Pesti Srácok proclaims. In an article titled ‘Je suis Panama’ the author, who writes under the pseudonym B. Boogiman, calls offshore tricks a crude form of tax evasion compared to more refined techniques that are used, he claims, by really big fish like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckenberg, Warren Buffet and George Soros. Tutiblog also warns that channeling funds into an offshore company is itself not against the law, while the origin of that money may be, but is not necessarily illegal. Leaking information in this case only increases the blackmailing potential of the really big fish, B. Boogiman argues.

In Magyar Hírlap László Bogár, who often writes about the ‘hidden forces’ which ‘manipulate world events from behind the scenes’, draws attention to the fact that two of the biggest ‘offshore islands’, Luxembourg and Switzerland are in the very centre of Europe. The author calls the Panama Papers scandal a neatly devised story, but thinks what follows will tell a lot about the real intentions behind the leaks: their first victim was Iceland’s Prime Minister, who tried to fight the global financial system, and further suspects are targeted in circles close to the presidents of Russia and China.

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