The famous Hungarian film director and government-close entrepreneur, Andy Vajna, died in 2019, and the fate of his five casinos in Budapest making a profit worth billions of HUF remained a question until the end of this April. That is because Vajna’s partner and tax expert, Samuel Russell Falconell, did not want to give over the golden goose. However, finally, from April 30 on, the business landed in the hands of the István Garancsi – Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky duo both regarded to be close to PM Viktor Orbán and the government.
According to 24.hu, Garinvest Projekt Ltd. became one of the two owners of the Las Vegas Casino Ltd. The Garinvest was created last November, and its founder was István Garancsi’s Garinvest Ltd. The other possessor is the London Capital Ltd which is the company of Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky, the former Hungarian ambassador to London. Furthermore, Gabriella Halkó, another close friend of Árpád Habony, became a member of the Las Vegas Casino Ltd’s Board of Directors.
Mr Szalay-Bobrovniczky told Mandiner that
he plays an active role in the replacing of the Hungarian elite, which is currently in progress.
He was already a close friend and colleague of Árpád Habony, an informal advisor of PM Viktor Orbán, while he worked for the Századvég Economic Research Institute.
Later, he became the Hungarian ambassador to London and founded the company owning the Hungarian international news agency, V4NA. We wrote about the start of the agency HERE.
The Hungarian multibillionaire, István Garancsi, was already in the casino business before and his CAI Hungary Ltd running a casino in Sopron realised a 1.2 billion HUF (EUR 3.4 million) profit last year which he took out immediately as dividend. 24.hu thinks that they would like to do the same in the case of the five casinos in Budapest, as well. For example,
in 2018, the Las Vegas Casino Ltd paid its shareholders 12.2 billion HUF (EUR 35 million).
According to the estimates of G7.hu, until 2024 when the concession period ends, the owners can take out 60 million HUF (EUR 171.8 million) from the Budapest casino business.
Interestingly, in 2019 December, the Hungarian government said that Andy Vajna’s widow, Tímea Vajna is the owner of the casinos. Based on the estimates, her heritage was worth 123 million dollars; however, most of that was the company behind the 5 Budapest casinos.