Budapest, February 16 (MTI) – The municipal court of Budapest held the first trial on Tuesday in a case in which György Fürst, former Socialist deputy mayor of the 6th district, and 23 others are charged with large-scale fraud totalling 3 billion forints (EUR 9.6m).
According to the indictment, Fürst was owner and managing director of Centrum, a company which held municipal contracts to manage parking lots and collect parking fees in seven districts of Budapest. The company is suspected of having used subcontractors, paying “tens and hundreds of millions” of forints for activities which were either unnecessary or taken care of by the contractor’s own staff, the indictment said.
Centrum paid 150 million forints to its subcontractors for training parking inspectors, whereas in reality orientation was provided by Centrum’s low-ranking staff. Centrum also needlessly paid 40 million forints for graphology tests of inspector candidates, the indictment added.
According to the charges, there was a considerable overlap between Centrum and its subcontractors, customer and contractor often being family members. Through outsourcing activities, the defendants created “chains of fictitious invoices”, also involving offshore companies.
The defendants are also charged with embezzlement, tax fraud, and other crimes. During the investigation most of them denied the charges.
Fürst did not appear at the first hearing, citing health problems.
Fürst is involved in another case, launced in 2011, concerning the controversial privatisation of two apartment blocks on Budapest’s prestigious Andrassy Avenue, in the sixth district. Fürst and a dozen other municipal officials are charged with having sold off the properties at 30-50 percent of their market value.