Budapest (MTI) – Opposition parties on Tuesday criticised the central bank’s real estate purchases after press reports revealed new details of a luxury villa bought in February.
The daily Magyar Nemzet reported on Tuesday that the Pallas Athene foundation of the National Bank of Hungary (NBH) had purchased a 2,165 square metre property on a hill in Budapest’s leafy 12th district for 1.3 billion forints (EUR 4.17m) from a company registered on the Virgin islands. The central bank declined the paper’s request for comment, saying that its foundations operate independently.
Pallas Athene said the building will house a research and training centre and that the purchase price was below the market price according to an independent appraisal. The foundation also bought a 795 million forint villa in the Buda Castle, where it plans to set up its headquarters, it said in a statement sent to the paper.
Istvan Tukacs, a lawmaker for the Socialist opposition, said central bank governor Gyorgy Matolcsy should immediately resign to put a stop to “further thriftless spending”.
Radical nationalist Jobbik deputy leader Janos Volner said the party finds the purchase of luxury villas from taxpayer money unacceptable.
Erzsebet Schmuck, a lawmaker for opposition LMP, said the government is far from making sure that taxpayer money does not land in offshore companies. It is exactly this reason why the governing parties had rejected LMP’s preventive proposals on this subject three times.
The leftist opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) demanded that central bank reveal who were behind the offshore company which has benefitted from such a lucrative purchase spending taxpayer funds. While schools and hospitals lack funds to pay bills or install an air-conditioning unit, Matolcsy still spends billions without counting, the party said in a statement.
Egyutt deputy leader Levente Papa called on Matolcsy to stop the careless spending and demanded that the head of the NBH’s supervisory board immediately investigate the purchase.
The Hungarian Liberal Party said “Matolcsy and company were committing serial theft at the expense of taxpayers”.