Hungary Police Probes Central Bank Over Data Handling

Hungary’s police are probing the country’s central bank after auditors said the regulator illegally shared information with the International Monetary Fund and failed to meet data-storage rules.

An investigation was started on suspicion of the abuse of authority and “other crimes” by the Budapest police department’s corruption and economic crimes division, the police press service said in an e-mail today. The Magyar Nemzeti Bank rejects the auditor’s findings and is “puzzled” by the probe, it said in an e-mail today.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who will name a new central bank chief next week, has unsuccessfully pushed MNB President Andras Simor to quit before his six-year term expires on March 3. The Cabinet has criticized monetary policy for not doing enough to stimulate growth, while the central bank has said government measures helped push the economy into a recession.

The State Audit Office has notified the “relevant authorities” about its findings and “didn’t press charges” against the central bank, the agency said in a statement today.

Orban’s ruling Fidesz party wants to summon Simor to a parliamentary committee hearing to discuss the findings of the Audit Office, MTI state news service reported Feb. 13, citing Fidesz lawmaker Imre Puskas.

The Audit Office, which like the central bank is an independent state institution, is headed by Laszlo Domokos, a former Fidesz lawmaker nominated by Orban in 2010.

The forint weakened 0.5 percent to 292.66 per euro as of 12:05 p.m. in Budapest, falling for the first time in four days. It has declined 0.5 percent this year.

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