Budapest, April 27 (MTI) – The Alstom case involving the French engineering company’s transfer of some 597,000 euros to a consultancy owned by former prime minister Péter Medgyessy’s family in 2007-2008 should be considered by parliament’s economic committee, ruling Fidesz group leader Lajos Kósa said on Wednesday.
The committee should question all the people involved, including former heads of Budapest public transport company BKV, former Budapest Mayor Gábor Demszky and Medgyessy, of the opposition Socialists, Kósa told public radio Kossuth.
It would be plausible to assume that the Socialist Party was involved as an accessory, Kósa said. As prime minister, Medgyessy immediately launched the metro 4 investment, which Kósa insisted had been murky. The breakdown of how the money was used and who received it must be investigated, Kósa said.
He told public news channel M1 that the state audit office had previously also investigated the metro contracts, including those signed with Alstom. Hungary’s state audit office established that the Hungarian state had suffered serious damages and now a British investigation has revealed that Alstom paid a bribe to BKV, Kósa said.
“No Hungarian prime minister had ever been involved in a corruption scandal on such a scale,” he added.
He said the Hungarian prosecutor’s office will consult the British authorities, adding that the fight against corruption was a common interest.
Fidesz’s Budapest chairman, Máté Kocsis, called on the city’s former left-wing representatives to account for the “disappeared Alstom funds”. He told a press conference that bribes suspected to total some 700 million forints had been transferred to decision-makers who helped Alstom provide the trains for metro 4. It should be assessed whether it is worth setting up an investigation committee for the next general assembly meeting, he added.
Jobbik party said both the Alstom case and the central bank should both be investigated by the committee. György Szilágyi, a lawmaker of the party, said the National Bank of Hungary treated public funds as if they were its own and wanted to prohibit public scrutiny of its foundations’ finances. He accused the bank of having “stuffed the pockets” of the government’s “buddies” with more than 10 billion forints worth of public funds while Prime Minister Viktor Orbán ignored the matter.
Szilágyi said Jobbik had already filled out a police report against the central bank but said they would hold off from filing it as long as Péter Polt was the chief prosecutor. The Jobbik MP said Polt’s wife, who is head of the supervisory board of one foundation and a board member of another, was “heavily involved” in the corruption that, he insisted, went on in the bank’s foundations.
Daily Magyar Idők reported that more than 597,000 euros had been transferred in two sums to Medgyessy’s family firm. Medgyessy was quoted by online news service Index stating that “the money constituted revenue after which the firm had paid taxes and it was paid for nine persons’ hard work over several years”. Citing information received from Hungarian investigators, Magyar Idők said a large part of the money ended up in the account of Medgyessy’s wife Katalin Csaplár in 2010.
An investigation is under way against Alstom in the UK and Hungary for suspected corruption, the paper said.