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Socialists-Parbeszed to submit proposals aimed at restricting offshore business activities

The opposition Socialist-Parbeszed alliance is submitting to parliament a package of bills aimed at restricting the operations of offshore businesses in Hungary, lawmakers of the parties said on Thursday.

The party alliance is proposing the establishment of a transparent database of offshore business owners that would be free to access, Parbeszed lawmaker Bence Tordai told an online news conference.

Tordai said the Hungarian government had taken too long to comply with a European Union law requiring it to create such a database, adding that the regulations on the database will only come into effect next June.

The parties are also proposing a special tax on offshore companies and requiring offshore business owners to pay personal income tax unless they can verify their company’s activities in the country in question, he said.

Under the laws, offshore companies would also be ineligible for state and EU support, Tordai said. Another proposal concerns the expansion of the rules on conflicts of interest, he said, adding that if passed, this law would ban party officials from taking on roles in offshore companies.

The package is also backed by green LMP, he said, and he expressed hope that the Democratic Coalition and Jobbik would also support it.

Socialist Party deputy group leader Tamas Harangozo told the same press conference that offshore companies were estimated to cause thousands of billions of forints’ worth of damage to Hungary’s state budget and the Hungarian people each year. The money lost to offshore business activities, he said, could be used to fund education, health care and pension hikes.

Harangozo noted that a recent dump of documents on offshore activities known as the “Pandora Papers” exposed the offshore affairs of 35 world leaders, with press reports saying that multiple Hungarian nationals were implicated in the leaks.

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