Hungary not investigating U.S. claims of corruption

This photo, taken on February 8, 2010, shows Hungary's oldest bridge, the Chain Bridge (Lanchid), over the Danube River in downtown Budapest. ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images

BUDAPEST, Hungary – Hungary has no plans to investigate corruption allegations which have resulted in entry bans issued by the U.S. to several Hungarians, including unnamed government officials, authorities said Saturday.

Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Hungary was “not planning any exploratory action in this matter” and wanted the U.S. to provide proof of the corruption allegations. He also said that no minister had informed him of being affected by the ban.

“We continue to await the credible information from the U.S. government on the basis of which it made accusations of corruption against Hungarian citizens,” Szijjarto told reporters. “Hungary and its government are on the side of openness and transparency.”

U.S. Embassy charge d’affairs M. Andre Goodfriend said Friday that the ban was issued to fewer than 10 people, telling Hungarian state television that the measure affected “public individuals, members of government.”

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The embassy said the ban was issued because of U.S. suspicions that the people in question “are either engaging in or benefiting from corruption.”

Szijjarto said he hoped to discuss the matter, which has drawn plenty of attention in the Hungarian media, with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland during a meeting next week in Washington.

Hungarian parliament’s national security committee is scheduled to hold an open session about the allegations on Monday.

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