Hungary: Scandal-Tarred Tax Chief Resigns

The head of Hungary’s tax authority who was banned from entering the United States (US) last year on suspicion of corruption has resigned, the Ministry for National Economy says. 

Hungarian Economy Minister Mihály Varga. Photo: Hungarian Government.Ildikó Vida, president of the Hungarian Tax and Customs Administration (NAV), submitted her resignation to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán May 20. She stepped down Monday after a two-month notice period, in accordance with Hungarian law.

The ministry says it appreciates Vida’s work, but is moving towards a more “task-focused” and “client-friendly” tax authority.

In October 2014 the US Embassy in Budapest said that some Hungarian individuals had been banned from entering the US on suspicion that they are engaging in or benefitting from corruption. The embassy would not reveal the individuals’ names because of American privacy laws, but Hungarian media reported last year that Vida admitted she was one of those blacklisted.

There were hints of Vida’s impending removal earlier this month as the Economy Minister, Mihály Varga, said in an interview that changes in the tax authority’s management “may be necessary.”

For the opposition, Vida’s resignation was too little too late. Zoltan Gogos, deputy chairman of the Socialist Party and a member of Parliament, called it a stage in an “ongoing Mafia war.” He also accused the government of attempting to “whitewash” the corruption allegations.

Vice President Árpád Varga will take over the tax authority until a successor is appointed.

Vida denies all corruption allegations.