Tax Authority investigates atlatszo.hu’s accuser

Tamás Bornemissza, president of the Daganatos.hu (approx. Cancer.hu) Foundation charged András Becker, journalist of atlatszo.hu, at the end of May for insult and libel on the grounds of a blog post published earlier this year. Insult or libel is one of the few cases when anyone who feels themselves concerned in the case can initiate criminal proceedings. This is why it is a preferred tool of revenge and intimidation against journalists. Átlátszó initiated these charges to be struck from Penal Code for this reason on 17 March 2013.

We were accused for an article where we alleged that the immense revenues of the foundation far exceed the expenses and “results” produced in the past years. The president of the foundation sent an invitation to us to their central office after the post went live, which we accepted on the terms that we get access to the accounting documents of the foundation, as also stated in the foundation’s founding document. This was of course denied for the usual reasons (business secrets, contracted parties not giving consent, etc.). But they initiated criminal proceedings instead.

The first hearing was held at the beginning of summer where the presiding judge tried to settle the case out of court. As we were not willing to apologise to the accuser, we would need to prove our allegations in the next hearing, with the accuser withholding all the documents. However, there might not be a next hearing. The Government Control Office (KEHI) held an investigation at Daganatos.hu and inititated criminal proceedings as a result – for the unlawful use of 700 million forints coming from the last 3 years’ 1% income tax donations according to news. The National Tax and Customs Administration (NAV) started its own investigation as a result of the serious financial abuses uncovered and froze the foundation’s bank accounts. For once it seems like we got away free.

The original Hungarian language article was published on 19 September 2013. The text was translated by atlatszo.hu volunteer Endre Jenei.