Daily News Hungary | Feb 22, 2019 | 1
Hungarian deputy PM Semjén does not tell who paid his hunts in Canada
444.hu managed to obtain some licences allowing Zsolt Semjén, Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary to hunt in Canada. The papers were issued by the Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development of British Columbia in the North-Western Canadian Fort St. John. According to these, the Deputy PM hunted at least two times last year in Canada for bison, wolf and deer. According to 444.hu, he must have received these trips as gifts like the Swedish ones, because his salary would not have been enough to pay for them. However, he does not tell anything about who financed his hunting tours each worth at least 8,000 American dollars (2.2 M HUF).
Deputy PM Semjén’s hunt maze
As we already reported before, Magyar Nemzet received videos, photos and documents confirming that Semjén used to take part in luxurious hunts in Sweden for years in total secrecy. The price for the trips was horribly high, 4-5 million Swedish krona (EUR 500,000) for each. Furthermore, Magyar Nemzet discovered later that a Hungarian businessman,
József Farkas paid for his trips, who won many tenders after Fidesz came to power in 2010.
Moreover, one of his hotels was inaugurated by Deputy PM Semjén. In fact, József Farkas denies that he paid for the hunts. Finally, the owner of the reindeer Semjén hunted down last time claims that he did not permit him to kill his reindeer. Thus, he sued the Deputy PM and the case is on the table of the Swedish Prosecution Authority which they are investigating as theft.
Canada on Semjén’s hunting map
According to the papers 444.hu acquired, Semjén hunted for bison and wolf in January last year and for moose, elk and reindeer in September. Based on the license, 444.hu writes that he was accompanied by a Hungarian entrepreneur whose company offers such hunts
for 8,000 American dollars (2.2 M HUF).
Besides, there are some additional fees like licences to kill and travelling costs. For example, they paid 955 Canadian dollars for a license allowing hunting for moose, elk and reindeer. However, these were just preliminary permissions, if Semjén shot an animal he had to pay additional fees. Moreover, non-residents have to pay even royalty fee (200 dollars) and state tax.
In fact, Semjén told Békéscsaba TV before the elections that he hunted not only in Sweden but also in Canada. However, he did not share with them who paid for these hunts. Therefore, 444.hu tried to ask these questions from the Deputy PM himself. However, his spokesperson told that hunting is Semjén’s hobby and thus, it is part of his private life.
Who paid the bill?
444.hu suggests that instead of the Deputy PM
somebody else could have paid for the hunts like before in Sweden.
This is because his salary is not enough to pay them. Besides, his fortune increased between 2017 January and 2018 January. According to the law, Hungarian MPs have to include in their financial statement gifts worth more than 1/12th of their monthly salary. However, Semjén did not do so because he said that
he received these as a private individual not as Deputy PM or MP.
According to him, the trips worth millions he received did not influence his work as a MP. He added that he receives these as a private individual.
As we reported before, Transparency International’s (TI) legal director, Miklós Ligeti turned to the parliament’s Committee on Immunity in Semjén’s hunt scandal. He asked the president of the committee to launch a process on the deputy PM’s financial statement since Semjén did not include the price of his luxurious hunts in Sweden. However,
János Hargitai who is member of Semjén’s party refused to do so.
Furthermore, the National Tax and Customs Administration of Hungary (NTCA) issued a statement in which they claim that Semjén does not have to pay any personal income tax (PIT) or donation tax after his Swedish hunts paid by Mr Farkas.
Featured image: Magyar Nemzet
Source: 444.hu, Daily News Hungary