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HUNGARY

Hungary targets Swiss accounts for tax

Swiss accounts are among those targeted by the Hungarian government in a move to slap a hefty tax on foreign deposits by its citizens, according to a report.

Hungary plans to impose a 35-percent levy on up to two trillion forints ($9 billion) held in foreign accounts, state news agency MTI reported on Wednesday.

Janos Lazar, Prime Minister Viktor Orban's chief of staff, said a government working group has been set up to trace the funds, which have been estimated at between one and two trillion forints, the agency reported.

The group plans to meet first with Swiss authorities to discuss the transfer of bank information related to Hungarian deposits, Lazar said.

He also mentioned Austria and Cyprus as locations favoured by anonymous Hungarian account holders.
 
 "It's particularly important that bilateral discussions with Cyprus begin so that offshore funds can be brought home and into the tax system as soon as possible," Lazar said.

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PROTEST

Eggs thrown during Hungary minister visit

One person was arrested and a police officer was injured after angry protesters threw eggs during the visit of a Hungarian minister to Zurich, Swiss police said Saturday.

Eggs thrown during Hungary minister visit
Zoltan Balog, Hungarian minister of human resources. Photo: Kormany.hu

Around 30 people interrupted a conference at Zurich University late Friday to protest against Hungarian Minister for Human Resources, Zoltan Balog, local police told the Swiss news agency ATS.

Police intervened when the demonstrators began throwing eggs while the conservative minister was inside giving a lecture entitled "Hungary's Roma — a problem or an opportunity?"

The group that called for the demonstration told ATS that the minister had "shown moderation" in his talk, but stressed that his agenda was characterized by "the singular culture of a police state."

Activists say that Hungary's Roma population, the country's largest but poorest minority, faces open discrimination with anti-Roma rhetoric and violence on the rise.

A fight broke out when police attempted to bring the situation under control, and a police officer was slightly injured, ATS reported.

One person had been arrested for violence and threatening an officer, but had been released following questioning, according to police, who did not immediately respond to AFP's request for comment.

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