The man who is on good terms with the Russians and advises the Hungarian government for billions: Klaus Mangold. In business circles, he is known as Mr Russia. But who is this German businessman who has such good relations with both Russia and Hungary? Read our article to learn about him.
In 2013, he was the one to arrange Orbán’s meeting with the head of Rosatom to decide on the construction of Paks II. Later, he lobbied the Russian and the Hungarian government in Brussels. At the end of 2021, Klaus Mangold received a contract worth HUF 8.2 billion from László Palkovics’ ministry. As can be seen, Klaus Mangold has been heavily involved in the Hungarian-Russian rapprochement.
Klaus Jürgen Mangold was born in 1943 in Pforzheim, southern Germany, and studied law and economics in Geneva, London and several German universities, Telex.hu writes. After graduating, he worked for a number of companies and soon enough was entrusted with important positions in West German business life.
He was a member of the board of Daimler-Benz AG (the Mercedes group) when he first met members of the Orbán government, with whom he also discussed Mercedes’ expansion in Hungary. In 1999, an agreement was reached with Attila Chikán, Minister of Economy at that time, on the refurbishment of Soviet-built Mig 29 aircraft. And although this deal fell through in 2001, Mangold’s relationship with Fidesz politicians continued.
His most important contact in the region is Vladimir Putin, whom he met in 1993, during his time in the KGB, writes Telex.hu. Mangold’s contacts with the East have also been appreciated in Germany, for example, between 2000 and 2010 he chaired the German Committee for Eastern European Economic Relations, which is responsible for representing the interests of participating German companies in Eastern Europe.
In 2003, while he was still chairing the committee, he founded Mangold Consulting GmbH, a consultancy firm that has since become a well-known name in Hungary, and which was awarded a HUF 8.2 billion (EUR 20.3 million) contract by the Ministry of Innovation and Technology at the end of 2021. After 2010, Mangold’s relationship with Hungary has been running in parallel on two tracks.
On the one hand, with János Lázár, they were smoothing the transformation of the country into an assembly plant and the import of German industry into Hungary. On the other hand, from 2012, he started working more closely with Orbán, especially in pursuing rapprochement with Russia. For the second Orbán government, which was not yet in such a stable position, it was very important that Berlin should not oppose the opening towards the East. And, reportedly, Mangold was an excellent adviser on how to satisfy both the Germans and the Russians, as Telex.hu puts it.
As it has been mentioned before, Mangold played a key role in organising the meeting between Rosatom’s head Sergei Kriyenko and Viktor Orbán in Budapest in 2013. But Mangold’s services did not end there. The German businessman used his political connections to defuse criticism of the Paks II project in Brussels. For example, he put Günther Oettinger, the German Commissioner of the European Commission, who was actively lobbying for Paks II at the time, on Hungary’s side.
The German businessman has disappeared from the Hungarian news since 2017, although it has occasionally emerged that he is still in contact with the government. In 2017, he had a contract with the Prime Minister’s Office led by János Lázár (worth around HUF 201 million [EUR 496,335] at the time), and after 2018 with the Ministry of Innovation and Technology led by László Palkovics (ITM) for a total of HUF 380 million (EUR 939,800).
And not long ago, in December 2021, ITM signed a consultancy contract worth just over HUF 8.2 billion with Mangold’s company for just over half a year. ITM has contracted Mangold Consulting to advise on the reacquisition of Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport at the end of 2021, ITM’s successor said in response to a question from Telex.hu. However, as the purchase did not go ahead due to the change in the financial environment, the full amount of the contract will not be used. And anyway, what pieces of advice could cost so much? We have yet to find that out.
Source: Telex.hu, hvg.hu