Budapest, April 7 (MTI) – The opposition Jobbik party has raised questions over the recent sale of the prestigious former Postabank headquarters in central Budapest, accusing the ruling Fidesz party of “abusing its government positions for making profits”.
Every large business transaction lately seems to have friends, family members or leading politians of the Fidesz party behind it, György Szilágyi, the party’s lawmaker, told a press conference on Thursday.
The weekly Heti Válasz reported in its Thursday issue that the company which owns the former Postabank headquarters on József Nádor Square has been sold to the Arab billionaire Ghaith Pharaon by a company associated with István Tiborcz, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s son-in-law. The report mentions that the buyer was earlier wanted by the FBI. The transaction was completed through Pharaon’s lawyer, Ammar M.A. Abu Namous, the paper said. It also mentions that Pharaon’s future plans include buying a building on Castle Hill which he intends to turn into a luxury hotel. Pharaon also has a joint company with the Hungarian Trading House set up in December 2015. Pharaon was described by Forbes magazine in 2008 as being on FBI’s top ten most wanted white collar fugitives list, and a French parliamentary report from 2002 claims he had been using the Islam financial network also used by Al-Qaeda and terrorist organisations, Heti Valasz wrote.
Szilágyi said the transaction raises national security concerns as the prime minister could become the target of blackmail by foreign nationals. For this reason Jobbik is calling for an investigation of the deal in parliament’s national security committee, he added.