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State auditor: Report delayed on suspicion of illegal campaign financing

Hungary's state auditor has had to delay its report on the campaign financing of parliamentary parties owing to doubts over the legality of receipts and other documentation connected with the opposition formation Everybody's Hungary Movement (MMM).

Laszlo Windisch, head of the State Audit Office (ASZ), told parliament’s economic committee on Monday that the involvement of the tax and customs authority had been necessary for the report to be completed, citing “serious suspicions of illegal campaign financing”.

He said intelligence reports suggested opposition parties’ financing involved foreign sources channeled through MMM, which he characterised as “the most serious attack on a country’s sovereignty and democracy”.

As part of the audit office’s legal obligation to conduct investigations after every election, he said a probe of MMM had become necessary. He noted that MMM was not a party but had actively participated in the election campaign.

The opposition parties submitted campaign financing reports to the auditor, he said, adding that doubts over their legality arose when MMM leader Peter Marki-Zay, who was the prime ministerial candidate of the joint opposition, stated that MMM had financed a large portion of their joint campaign, and MMM had received money from abroad, which is unlawful in Hungary.

Windisch noted that the state auditor’s job was to discover whether illegal financing had taken place. “It looks like this was the case,” he said.

The auditor’s report will be made public following a discussion with the leaders of all the relevant parties, Windisch told the economic committee.

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