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Dispute over National Bank recruitment 

August 10th, 2016

A conservative columnist criticizes the National Bank for hiring former counterespionage officers. A pro-government economist, on the other hand, alleges that its critics want to take revenge on the National Bank for cutting into the profit of financial speculators. 

On Monday, Index.hu reported that the National Bank had hired three former counter-intelligence officers and a former commissar of the Counter Terrorism Centre (TEK) to improve the National Bank’s security protocol and staff. Certain unnamed experts cited by Index.hu suggest that the National Bank leadership wants to secure the sympathy and cooperation of “former security services leaders who may know quite a lot about the political elites”. The same sources claim that this amounts to an attempt to build a private army.

Magyar Nemzet’s Tamás Pilhál finds the National Bank recruitment practices highly disturbing. The conservative columnist wonders whether the National Bank is creating sinecure positions in order to offer employment for failed security staff who possess sensitive information on government politicians, or to build a private militia. Either possibility is quite frightening, Pilhál thinks.

Without specifically mentioning the new staff members, Csaba Lentner, board member of the Pallas Athene Domus Foundation established by the National Bank, contends in Magyar Idők that critics of the National Bank want to take revenge on MNB governor Matolcsy for cutting into speculators’ profit through a stellar 82 base rate cut since 2013. The conservative economist believes that Matolcsy’s strategy increased Hungary’s financial stability and boosted economic output while it also kept inflation low.

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