Budapest, May 12 (MTI) – The municipal assembly on Thursday approved setting up an ad hoc committee with the task to investigate corruption allegations connected to French engineering company Alstom’s Budapest metro contract.
The proposal submitted to the assembly by Máté Kocsis, a mayor for ruling Fidesz, was passed at an extraordinary meeting with 28 votes in favour and one abstention.
A decision on the composition of the committee is set to be taken at the assembly’s next meeting.
In late April Fidesz group leader Lajos Kósa told a press conference that years ago the UK’s Serious Fraud Office launched investigations into four Alstom executives for alleged corruption. The SFO alleged that they had transferred 2.3 million euros to Budapest transport company BKV for preferential treatment in the bids to supply the carriages for the city’s fourth metro line.
Meanwhile, it was recently revealed that companies with ties to former Socialist Prime Minister Péter Medgyessy were paid nearly 600,000 euros (HUF 186m) by Alstom, Kósa said. He cited the SFO as saying that Alstom had attempted to hide the “bribe monies” with the use of “fake” consulting contracts.
Kósa said it was strange that it had recently emerged that 60 million forints of that money ended up on the bank account of Medgyessy’s wife. The question remains, he said, where the missing 1.7 million euros had gone.
Kósa said the Budapest city council had filed a criminal complaint over suspected corruption surrounding the Alstom contracts.