Hungarian newspaper 444.hu has launched a thorough investigation of the workings of the Hungarian National Trading House (MNKH), which revealed that the company has suffered losses amounting to HUF 2.7bn.
The Hungarian National Trading House (MNKH) was established in 2012, with the goal of boosting the export of small and medium-sized Hungarian enterprises.
Two lawsuits concluded this summer in connection with the MNKH. One of them was filed by Transparency International (TI), relating to the 2015 Quaestor brokerage scandal which was extensively covered by Daily New Hungary as well. After the scandal broke, it was revealed that both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the MNKH had kept billions with the company. The TI managed to expose that in 2013 HUF 9.3bn were transferred from the MNKH to Quaestor, and in March 2015, a few hours before the collapse of the brokerage, HUF 3.5bn were sent back. The MNKH claims that the HUF 5.5bn difference was used to run the company.
The lawsuit of 444 aimed to reveal how the MNKH operates, and the nature of the deals that were made with the help of the company. The MNKH agreed to disclose that they conducted HUF 2.8bn worth of business dealings between 2013 and 2016. Taking into consideration the results of the TI lawsuit, which revealed that HUF 5.5bn were used for the operation of the company, the MNKH has apparently suffered losses of at least HUF 2.7bn.
According to 444.hu, it could be argued that, although the initial costs of setting up the company constituted a great sum, the trading house would begin to profit in the coming years. However, this is not the case. Based on the current data, HUF 2.1bn is spent on maintaining the network of trading houses each year, while HUF 2.8bn worth of businesses were conducted in the last three years.
The 444’s lawsuit also revealed that the most expensive country where the MNKH operates is Turkey, where HUF 1bn was given to the Turkish partner, the ALX Ltd. in the first year. So far, no businesses have been made in this country, nor in Cyprus or Greece where the ALX also represents Hungarian companies. Overall, out of the 35 countries where the MNKH is present, in 12 of them no successful businesses have been conducted since 2013. There are also countries where there is no official trading house financed by the state, but the MNKH claims that Hungarian companies managed to secure business deals through the trading house’s contribution.
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