Budapest (MTI) – The Hungarian Liberal Party has called on the central bank to convene its supervisory board and question the bank’s governor Gyorgy Matolcsy over the recent purchase of a Titian painting for 4.5 billion forints (EUR 14.5m).
The supervisory board should examine who at the bank has the authority to approve such purchases, the Liberals said in a statement on Friday. Besides other expensive art work, the bank has also bought real estate and finances foundations, it added.
“Central bank leaders are treating taxpayers’ money like it was their own private petty cash bank, available to spend on their indulgences,” the statement signed by the party’s economic spokesman Zoltan Bodnar said.
The Liberals submitted a draft amendment to the Central Bank Act aimed at “stopping luxury spending at the bank”, but the governing majority did not even take it on the agenda, the statement said.
The Dialogue for Hungary party said on Friday they would file an official data request with the central bank over the purchase of the Titian, and if the governor fails to provide an adequate answer they vowed to sue him.
The party added the painting’s market value six years ago was 1.4 billion forints and it was doubtful its value had increased by that much since. Further, it raised the suspicion that the purchase may have provided a mechanism for embezzlement.
The Democratic Coalition (DK) said that the central bank’s “suspicious purchases” had now elicited a probe by the European Commission, and Matolcsy would have to face its findings.
DK in a statement compared Matolcsy to a “Croesus collecting artwork”, who has spent “tens of billions of forints” on luxury properties, art objects or rare instruments.
DK cited unnamed Brussels sources, and said that a European Commission probe could cause serious harm to Hungary’s reputation. The Titian purchase could “even accelerate the Commission’s probe,” the statement speculated.
The National Bank of Hungary has purchased the painting “Mary with Child and St. Paul” under its art acquisition programme for 4.5 billion forints, the bank said on its website on Thursday. Under the programme, the central bank seeks to recover major artworks exported from Hungary and buy treasures locally to keep them in the country, the website said. It added that the programme had a budget of 30 billion forints until the end of 2018.
based on the article of MTI
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