Demonstration in Budapest for the investigation of tax fraud scandal

Over 1000 people marched in protest in Budapest on 28 December 2013 demandingthat the Hungarian government investigate in merit who are responsible for allowing certain large companies to commit VAT fraud in an estimated HUF 1000 billion per year without any legal consequences. The demonstration was organised and supported by Anonymous Operation Hungary, Az alkotmány nem játék (The Constitution is not a toy), Hallgatói Hálózat (Student Network), Krétakör, Levegő Munkacsoport (Clean Air Action Group), Valódi Demokráciát Most! Occupy Hungary, Vállalkozások Érdekvédelmi Szövetsége (Association for the Protection of Interest of Enterprises, Váralja Szövetség and Védegylet. The protesters walked from the Széchenyi Street headquarters of the National Tax and Customs Administration (NAV) to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and then to the Parliament. Many of the demonstrators were waving green folders since András Horváth, the whistleblower who had revealed corruption related to VAT fraud, kept the documents containing the data of the large tax evading companies in a green folder which was confiscated from him when the police raided his house.

At the protest András Horváth made a speech and pointed out that the happenings of the recent weeks had proven: despite the fact that the government has known about everything, it is still taking the side of the tax evaders. According to Horváth, all this is a disgrace to the European Union: small businesses are persecuted while the large ones are let off.

President of the Clean Air Action Group András Lukács also spoke at the demonstration. He explained that in 2007 with the contribution of former tax office employees the Clean Air Action Group had compiled a study tax fraud in which they had written: ‘Employees who had been dismissed from the tax office (in the previous government term 1100 workers had been laid off from the tax office ) informed us that in numerous cases when the tax officers were just about to reveal massive tax fraud, further investigation was called off from higher governmental levels. Thus it would be necessary for an independent body (the Public Prosecutor’s Office or the State Audit Office) to examine whether there really were cases in the recent period when investigations to detect considerable VAT fraud were stopped, and if yes, what was the justification.’ The study was sent to the Ministry of Finance, however, not only there have been no such investigations performed since then, but the very right of the Prosecutor’s Office to conduct review of legality over the tax office has been eliminated!

Lukács added that András Horváth sought him out in person one year ago and since then they have been working together to prepare the ground for Horváth’s materials related to VAT fraud and corruption to be made public and sent to the Prosecutor’s Office. During this time Lukács has spoken to a number of people about this issue, has reviewed documents, and so he can confirm the validity of the claim that corruption on governmental level allows VAT fraud of at least HUF 1000 billion annually. The vast majority of this enormous sum goes into the pockets of criminal groups who then spend it on their luxurious lifestyle, and in most cases they also take this money out of the country. This is why there are no funds available for education, health care, environmental protection, and other areas of fundamental importance. And this is also the reason why so many enterprising, educated young people go abroad: they are sick and tired of the fact that corrupt or corruptible people get ahead in Hungary instead of those who are talented, qualified and hard working. It lies in the interest of all of us to join our forces and end this situation!