Hungarian mayor found guilty, still remains in office
Veres Margit, the mayor of Balmazújváros was declared guilty and was sentenced to 2 years in prison,which was suspended to 5 years of probation in the Court of Debrecen. “It is still not forbidden to participate in public affairs”, announced Tímea Tatát, spokeswoman of the Court of Debrecen. According to the decision, which is still not final, Margit Veres has to pay a penalty of 800,000 Hungarian forints because of the crime of accepting bribery committed as an official person, the MNO.hu report said.
Margit Veres became the mayor of Balmazújváros as an independent candidate, but she was known to be a confidant of István Tiba, an influential person in Fidesz. However,
she is convicted because of the case of the sports hall that was built in 2012.
At that time she was working as a notary, and István Tiba was the mayor. It was a man named István K., a wealthy supporter of the NB1 handball team, now the secondary accused, who started to build the sports hall. Then there came the opportunity to get financial support from the state.
The entrepreneur, who has just been sentenced to 1 year and six months in prison (suspended to 4 years of probation) made appointments with Margit Veres to discuss the potential financial support. They agreed that, if they can get the support from the state, some of it will be spent on the sports hall. The entrepreneur promised a car and 5 million forints in return. Finally, the support arrived, as the local authorities got a 450 million forints fund from the state. It was planned that from this given amount 180 million forints will be spent on the new sports hall.
The dotation was first negotiated on by the financial committee, then by the body of representatives. Although Margit Veres informed the representatives about the financial support at the conference, she did not talk about all the conditions. This way she made an illusion that the 180 million forints can only be spent on the sports hall. Actually, there was no condition like this. According to the counsel-leader judge Eszter Mocsáry, Veres misled the members and so succeeded in avoiding questions and getting the support she needed. On the same day István Tiba ruling mayor gave the members the same information. However, he did not become accused and stands as a witness in front of the court.
At the same night Margit Veres and Sándor K met in a parking place. According to the charges, this was the place were she got an envelope with 5 million forints from the entrepreneur.
Margit Veres did not deny it at the court, but she said that she passed the envelope to István Tiba. In his confession Tiba argued that this was a simple loan, which he gave back to Sándor later. According to the court, however, despite the grounded suspicion, it can not be clearly seen as money coming form bribery.
The fact that giving the car counted as bribery was clear at court. It was an unlawful benefit worth 3 million forints. The accused persons concluded a fictional purchase contract, in which they wrote a fake price of 1.9 million forints.
During the judicial process it became known that Margit Veres’s telephone was already tapped before the crime. A part of that and also some details coming from the confessions from witnesses had to be excluded from the evidences because of the rules of law. The prosecutor asked for the imprisonment of Margit Veres, while the first and secondary accused and their protectors asked for absolution.
translated by Zsanett Kanász